2005 Baseball Season

While the "feel good" baseball story of 2004 had been the Red Sox finally shattering the "Curse," the White Sox may have done them one better by taking the world title in the 2005 baseball season. Chicago's South Side team had appeared in the World Series only once since World War I, and it had been a full 88 years (1917!) since Chicagoans (Cubs fans included) had celebrated a world championship.

The 2005 World Series went down in the record books as a four-game sweep, but it was no walk in the park for the White Sox over the Houston Astros. They won game two on a walk-off homer by Scott Podsednik (who had hit exactly zero homers during the regular season) and needed a 14th-inning blast by little-known Geoff Blum to land game three. Even game four was tight, ending 1-0, with the only run coming in the eighth inning on an RBI single by 2005 World Series MVP Jermaine Dye.

The Sox flew through the postseason, bouncing the Red Sox in a three-game ALDS sweep and losing just once to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS. Life was tougher for the gritty Astros, who had to play the longest game in postseason history (18 innings) to topple the Braves in the NLDS, and needed six games to undo the Cardinals in the NLCS.

The White Sox stayed atop the American League Central standings all season long, fighting off brief challenges from Cleveland. Houston, on the other hand, started its season by losing two-thirds of its games, bottoming out at 15-30 before kicking it into gear. The Astros went on a 42-17 run and nailed down the National League wildcard berth on the last day of the season.

Chicago's irrepressible manager, Ozzie Guillen, kept things loose in the clubhouse while the pitching staff piled up the wins. The club's four starters -- Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia -- posted win totals of 18, 16, 15, and 14, respectively.

The Astros became the first team since the 1914 "Miracle Braves" to appear in a World Series after being 15 games below .500 during the season. Houston was powered offensively by Morgan Ensberg, who crushed 36 home runs. The pitching staff featured outstanding seasons by Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens, whose 1.87 ERA topped the league.

Postseason teams were peppered with winners of the major season awards. Both MVP winners (Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees) played in October, as did the Cy Young winners (Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals and Bartolo Colon of the Angels). Chad Cordero of the new Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) was the National League's top closer with 47 saves.

Derrek Lee
Derrek Lee's bat was on
fire for the Cubs in 2005.

The man all of America had been talking about for several years was largely silent during 2005. Barry Bonds missed most of the season recuperating from surgeries on his knees. He did return in September and managed five homers and ten RBI in 14 games, finishing the season with 708 total homers.

Both batting titlists were first-time winners. Derrek Lee of the Cubs took the National League crown with a .335 average, and the Rangers' Michael Young topped the junior circuit with a .331 mark. Likewise, both RBI leaders were first-timers. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz led all ALers in RBI with 148, while Atlanta's Andruw Jones -- who clubbed a league-best 51 homers -- was the National League leader with 128.

Only a slight cooldown in August kept the White Sox from having the best record in baseball as they entered the 2005 postseason. And once they got there, no one could stop them, as they won 11 of 12 games. The Sox needed late-inning homer heroics in two games to sweep the Astros in the 2005 World Series.

The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 2005 baseball season.

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The year 2005 saw the birth of the Washingon Nationals, replacing the Montreal Expos, and Albert Pujols finally winning the National League MVP Award. Here are some of the headlines from the 2005 baseball season:

The Nationals Are Born

The spanking new mascot "Screech" popped out of his shell to announce that the Montreal Expos were gone in 2005, replaced by the Washington Nationals. With some surprising performances in close games, the formerly woeful franchise was actually in first place on June 5, making it the first Washington ballclub to achieve that feat in 72 years. Under manager Frank Robinson, the Nationals finished at 81-81.

Bartolo Colon Leads Angels to American League West Title

Trying to attract a greater fan base, the former Anaheim Angels changed their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in time for the 2005 season. (They were previously known as the Los Angeles Angels and California Angels.) LAA of A became the first American League team to clinch its division in 2005, then upset the Yankees in five games in the ALDS. Bartolo Colon was a difference maker. Going 21-8, he won three more games than any other American League pitcher and won his first Cy Young Award.

Albert Pujols Wins Overdue MVP Award

Albert Pujols hit .330-41-117 en route to his first National League MVP Award. It was his fifth season in the majors, and he had finished in the top four in MVP voting each year. He had also topped .300-30-100 and 100 runs every season. By the end of 2005, he had hit 201 career homers and was still only 25 years old.

Andruw Jones Eclipses 50 Homers

Andruw Jones of the Braves had been a powerful hitter and superb outfielder since he came to the majors at age 19. But in 2005, he took his batting to a whole new level. Supposedly acting on a recommendation from Willie Mays, Jones clubbed 51 home runs to lead all of baseball. His 128 RBI topped the National League, and he won his eighth straight Gold Glove Award.

Chris Carpenter Cops the Cy

Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter's selection as 2004 Comeback Player of the Year after arm surgery was well deserved. But no one could have predicted what came next -- a totally dominating season in which he led the league in wins (21-5) and complete games (seven) and posted a 2.83 ERA. He was a big reason why his Cards sported the best record in baseball with 100 victories.

Bobby Cox Again Named Top Skipper

Under Bobby Cox in 2005, the Braves continued their sensational string of division titles -- 14 in a row, including six 100-win seasons. As a result of his 2005 success, Cox was chosen Manager of the Year for the fourth time (three with the Braves, once with the Blue Jays). He won Sporting News Manager of the Year honors for a record eighth time.

Pinstriped Alex Rodriguez Slugs Way to MVP

Alex Rodriguez, baseball's highest-paid player, lit up the lights as a New York Yankee in 2005, winning his second Most Valuable Player Award. His 48 homers not only led the league, but they were the most ever by a Yankee right-handed hitter. The 47 he hit while playing third base set a league record, too. He also topped all ALers in runs (124) and slugging (.610).

Glory and Shame for Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro becomes the fourth player in history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Two weeks later, he was suspended for ten days for testing positive for the steroid stanozolol. When he returned, he had to wear earplugs to drown out the boos he heard. Many questioned his chances for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.

Jimmy Rollins Hits in 36 Straight

With a ninth-inning double against the Giants' Brian Cooper on August 23, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins took off on a batting streak that continued through the last game of the season. He hit in 36 straight games, plus two more to begin the 2006 season. The 38-game skein was the ninth longest in history. Rollins finished 2005 with a modest .290 average, although he did rank third in the league with 196 hits.

Check out more headlines from the 2005 baseball season on the next page.

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Below are more headlines from the 2005 baseball season, including the White Sox winning the World Series and featuring the Chicago Cubs as well, with Derek Lee finishing first in batting.

2005 White Sox Hurlers Dominate

Chicago White Sox pitchers shouldered their burden equally in 2005. The team's four top starters -- Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia -- all pitched more than 200 innings, won at least 14 games, and sported ERAs below 3.90. Garland went 18-10 to lead the staff in victories. The White Sox led the American League in wins, ERA, complete games, and saves.

Texas's One-Two Punch

Mark Teixeira and Michael Young offered plenty of pop for the Rangers in 2005. Young won his first batting title (.331) and topped 200 hits for the third consecutive season. In addition, he cracked 24 homers and drove in 91 runs. Teixeira blasted 43 homers, plated 144 runs, and led the American League with 370 total bases. Alfonso Soriano (36 home runs) also contributed to the Rangers' immense total of 260 home runs.

Derrek Lee Takes a Shot at Triple Crown

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had topped the 30-homer mark twice in his career, but in 2005 he took his hitting to a new level, chasing the Triple Crown much of the season. His 46 homers and 107 RBI were topped by Andruw Jones, but he still finished first in batting (.335) and four other major categories. He placed third in National League MVP voting.

Bobby Abreu on Fire in HR Derby

Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu belts his first home run during the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit. He proceeded to knock an amazing 24 homers in the first round and finished with 41 overall (topping the previous best by 14!). On the season, he cracked 24 dingers and stole 31 bases.

Chris Burke Ends 18-Inning NLDS Game

Houston rookie Chris Burke belted a series-clinching, 18th-inning walk-off home run against Atlanta in game four of the 2005 NLDS. The historic clout ended a contest that featured grand slams by both teams and a two-out, game-tying homer by the Astros' Brad Ausmus in the ninth inning. The unsung hero was Houston's bullpen (including Roger Clemens), which held the Braves to one run over 13-plus innings.

2005 Astros Head to Their First Fall Classic

In 2005, the Astros reached the World Series for the first time in their 43-year history. Houston needed six games to subdue the Cardinals, and the closest thing to a blow-out was the Astros' 5-1 win in the finale. Three games were decided by one run. Clutch pitching by Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens kept matters under control until the 'Stros offense could poke home the needed runs.

A.J. Pierzynski Helps Sox Win ALCS

A noncall on White Sox batter A.J. Pierzynski helped Chicago win game two of the 2005 ALCS. With two outs and the score 1-1 in the top of the ninth, Pierzynski swung and missed at strike three. But umpire Doug Eddings made no call because he believed catcher Josh Paul dropped the ball. So while the Angels' catcher rolled the ball to the mound and his teammates left the field, Pierzynski took off for first, leading to the run that gave the Sox the game. They wouldn't lose again in the series.

Geoff Blum's an Unsung Series Hero

In game three of the 2005 World Series, the White Sox had to fight back from a 4-0 deficit against Roy Oswalt, the MVP of the NLCS. Stunningly, they did it, with a five-run fifth. Chicago let Houston tie the game in the last of the eighth, but the Sox won in 14 innings after seldom-used defensive replacement Geoff Blum homered in the top of that frame.

The next page highlights key events and details from the 2005 baseball season.

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The 2005 baseball season was a good one for Chicagoans -- they hadn't seen a World Series in 88 years. The White Sox took on the Astros and won in four games. Scandal continued to rock MLB as more players were outed for drug use. Below, you will find the highlights from the 2005 baseball season:
  • The White Sox lose just one game in breezing past the Red Sox in the ALDS and the Angels in the ALCS.

  • Houston and Atlanta's final NLDS matchup (game four) goes 18 innings. Houston prevails 7-6.

  • St. Louis sweeps San Diego in the NLDS but loses to Houston in six NLCS games.

  • White Sox win their first World Series title since 1917 with a sweep of the Astros.

  • Two World Series games are decided by final-inning home runs, while game four is a 1-0 nail-biter.

    Jose Reyes
    Jose Reyes stole
    60 bases in 2005.

  • Speedster Jose Reyes of the Mets paces the National League in triples (17) and stolen bases (60).

  • St. Louis leads all major league teams with 100 victories.

  • Atlanta wins its division for the 14th consecutive season.

  • San Diego captures the National League West title despite an 82-80 record.

  • Houston battles back from a 15-30 record in late May with hot hitting and sharp pitching to land the National League wildcard spot.

  • Nine games out of first place on May 7, the Yankees win 95 games and their eighth consecutive American League East title.

  • Red Sox take the wildcard after tying their American League East rival, New York, with 95 wins.

  • White Sox lead the American League Central wire to wire, finishing 99-63. They win 35 one-run games.

  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whose name has been changed from the Anaheim Angels, win 95 games and cruise in the American League West.

  • Alex Rodriguez wins his first MVP Award as a Yankee and his second overall.

  • Rodriguez's 48 four-baggers land him his fourth homer title in five years.

  • A-Rod leads the American League in runs (124) and slugging (.610).

  • Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is voted National League MVP.

  • Pujols leads the National League in runs (129) and becomes the first big-leaguer to belt 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons.

  • Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals wins the National League Cy Young Award after finishing second in the league in wins (21), winning pct. (.808), and strikeouts (213).

  • American League Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon leads the American League with 21 victories. He is a dominant factor in the Angels' second consecutive American League West title.

  • Derrek Lee of the Cubs wins his first batting title (.335).

  • Lee leads the National League in slugging (.662), hits (199), doubles (50), and total bases (393).

  • Lee's run for the Triple Crown evaporates when Atlanta's Andruw Jones passes him in homers (51) and RBI (128).

  • Jones becomes the first player in either league to reach 50 homers in the past three years.

  • Michael Young of the Rangers wins his first batting title (.331). He also leads the American League in hits (221).

  • David Ortiz paces the American League in RBI (148). He is second to Rodriguez in homers (47) and slugging (.604).

  • Phillies slugger Ryan Howard (22 homers) is named 2005 National League Rookie of the Year.

  • Oakland's Huston Street logs 23 saves and captures the 2005 American League Rookie of the Year Award.

  • Roger Clemens's one-year, $18 million deal with Houston makes him the highest paid pitcher in the game.

  • Clemens, age 43, leads the National League with a 1.87 ERA.

  • On Opening Day, the first hitter for the Washington Nationals (also the last batter for the Montreal Expos), Brad Wilkerson, singles to right.

  • Wilkerson hits for the cycle on April 6, helping the Nationals win their first game.

For more highlights of the 2005 baseball season, see the next page.

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Below are more highlights of the 2005 baseball season, including Manny Ray matching the record for third with 18 grand slams and Jackie Robinson posthumously receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.

  • On April 14 at RFK Stadium, President George W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch in Washington's first home game.

  • With a grand slam on April 16, Boston's Manny Ramirez ties for third all time with 18 grannies.

  • On May 15, Ramirez clubs his 400th career home run.

  • Yankees acquire Randy Johnson in a trade with Arizona, and the "Big Unit" shuts down American League hitters (17-8, 211 strikeouts).

  • After years of glory with the Cubs, Sammy Sosa opens the season with the Orioles.

  • On Opening Day, Baltimore's Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro become the first pair of teammates to have at least 500 career home runs apiece.

  • On July 15, Palmeiro cracks his 3,000th hit to become the fourth major league player with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

  • On August 1, Palmeiro's glory turns to shame when he is suspended for ten games for failing a drug test.

  • Cardinals play their last game at Busch Stadium.

  • San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman becomes only the third reliever to register 400 saves.

  • Jackie Robinson posthumously receives the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow.

  • On July 26, Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux logs his 3,000th strikeout to go with his 300-plus wins.

  • Kevin Millwood posts a league-best 2.86 ERA for Cleveland.

  • Minnesota's Johan Santana logs a 2.87 ERA and leads the American League in strikeouts (238).

  • Nationals closer Chad Cordero leads the majors with 47 saves.

  • Closer Mariano Rivera of the Yankees posts a 1.38 ERA en route to 43 saves.

  • On August 31, Jeremy Hermida of the Marlins becomes the second player in major league history to belt a grand slam in his first at-bat.

  • Dontrelle Willis tops the National League with 22 victories.

  • On September 22, Willis bats seventh in the Marlins lineup.

  • San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy leads the National League in strikeouts (216).

  • Atlanta's Bobby Cox wins his fourth Manager of the Year Award.

  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is a runaway winner for the 2005 American League Manager of the Year Award.

  • Chone Figgins of the Angels steals 62 bases to top the American League.

  • Baltimore's Miguel Tejada slugs 50 doubles to lead the American League.

  • Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies ends the season riding a 36-game hitting streak, longest in the majors since 1987.

  • Rangers blast 260 home runs, just four shy of the major league record set by Seattle in 1997.

  • Mark Teixeira of Texas reaches 100 career home runs before his third season concludes, becoming the fifth major-league slugger in history to achieve the feat.

  • Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. and the Yankees' Jason Giambi win their respective leagues' Comeback Player of the Year awards.

  • The American League extends its All-Star Game winning streak to eight with a 7-5 win in Detroit's Comerica Park.

  • Bobby Abreu of the Phillies rockets 41 homers in the Home Run Derby, breaking the record by 14.

  • Royals lose 19 consecutive games in midsummer -- the longest such streak in the majors since 1988.

  • The Royals become the first team ever to win three-game series against the Yankees and Dodgers in the same season. Nevertheless, they lose 106 games.

  • Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg are elected to the Hall of Fame.

  • Boston finishes second in the American League East for the eighth consecutive year.

  • Sosa concludes the season with 588 home runs, moving past Frank Robinson for fifth most in major league history.

  • During the season, Julio Franco, age 46, becomes the oldest major league player to hit a grand slam and steal a base.

  • At age 29, Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest player to reach 400 home runs.

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