Every team in every sport has provided its fans with memorable moments over the years. Perhaps some teams have provided more than others; yet, every truly devoted fan has that moment or moments that are indelibly etched into his or her memory that will never fade away. These are the moments that keep sports fans going when their teams are struggling. They are also moments that remind fans of why they love the sport and their teams in the first place. They remind us of what it means to be sports fans and why we love our sports.
The White Sox are no exception when it comes to memorable moments. Even though they have not won as many championships as Sox fans would like, there have been plenty of occurrences that are stuck in the minds of the South Side faithful. While there are, no doubt, many to choose from, today we will consider two of the most memorable moments from the last twenty years. Yes, it is unfair on some levels to pick just two; yet, that is what is up for discussion today. What makes these two moments special is the fact that they involved two players whose time on the South Side was relatively short. Still, they managed to leave their mark on White Sox history.
A Most Unlikely Hero
Geoff Blum was a career utility player that the White Sox picked up at the trade deadline in 2005. He played 31 games for the Pale Hose, and was underwhelming, to say the least. In 95 at-bats, Blum slashed .200/.232/.274, with one home run and three RBIs. He compiled an OPS+ of 33. No, that’s not a typo, the veteran player the Sox picked up for the stretch run rewarded them with an OPS+ of 33. It would be fair to say that Geoff Blum did absolutely nothing to distinguish himself as a particularly valuable player for the White Sox. Certainly, there was nothing to suggest that he would be a factor in the postseason.
Fast forward to Game Three of the 2005 World Series. For the first time since 1959, the White Sox are in the Fall Classic, facing the Houston Astros. After winning the first two games in Chicago, the Sox and Astros locked up in an extra-inning game that seemed as if it will never end. Both teams squandered chances to win the game, and it headed into the 14th inning. With two outs and the bases empty, Blum stepped to the plate, and, lined a 2-0 pitch over the right-field fence, to put the Sox ahead. They would in the game by a 7-5 score and finish the sweep one night later. The midseason pickup ended up being a most unlikely World Series hero. Geoff Blum had etched his name into White Sox history with one swing.
The Catch (South Side Style)
Blum’s heroics helped propel the White Sox to their first championship since 1917. Thus, he helped end an 87-year drought; pretty impressive. Yet, there was a more recent play in a regular-season game that will forever be remembered by White Sox faithful. The player involved was Dewayne Wise, a journeyman outfielder who had joined the Sox in 2008. For his career, Wise slashed a whopping .228/.264/.381, with an OPS + of 68. In 2009, he managed to compile an OPS+ of 60, low even by his standards. So, it would be fair to say that the White Sox did not acquire him for his efficiency at the plate.
While Dewayne Wise may have been a mediocre hitter, his outfield defense was outstanding. On a memorable July day in 2009, his defense was on full display. Sox ace Mark Buehrle was working on a perfect game, and manager Ozzie Guillen inserted Wise into center field for defense late in the game. The first hitter in the top of the ninth inning, Gabe Kapler hit a rocket to left-center field. It looked like Buehrle’s dream of a perfect game was over. Then, Wise, running at full speed, scaled the wall, pulled the ball back into the park, and caught it with his bare hand. It was a spectacular catch, especially given the importance. Buehrle completed his perfect game, and Dewayne Wise became immortal.
Two Historic Moments
Neither Geoff Blum nor Dewayne Wise has ever received a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, neither was ever more than a utility or backup player, even at his peak. The White Sox acquisitions of both players were not greeted with any fanfare. Blum and Wise were just two journeymen who happened to be a part of the White Sox franchise at a specific time and rose to the occasion. For a franchise that is over 120 years old, two decent players taking center stage at two historic moments is pretty remarkable. It would be hard to imagine that either had a moment in their careers that would eclipse what they did in the White sox uniform.
Hopefully you, the reader have enjoyed this look back in time at these memorable times in White Sox history. By the way, one more fun fact about Blum and Wise: their moments share a common link. When Blum hit his home run in the 14th inning, the pitcher who came in to close out the game was none other than Mark Buehrle. Crazy, huh? Baseball sure can be a funny game. Stick around long enough, and you will see something that you have never seen before. What a game!
One more thing before we sign off – now it’s your turn. We have presented you, the reader, with two great memories in White Sox history. Yes, one of them won a World Series game, while the other helped preserve a perfect game during the regular season. Maybe in the big picture, Blum’s accomplishment was more significant than Wise’s. Either way, both players have cemented their places in White Sox lore. The question for you the fan is simple: White Sox fans – Blum or Wise, who ya got?
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