Did you know that the Chicago White Sox (Stockings) played their first Major League game on April 24, 1901? Their opponent was Cleveland and they defeated the Indians (Blues in 1901) 8-to-2 at Southside Park. Too easy? Did you know that the Chicago White Sox (Stockings) won the first pennant in American League history (see 1901 for more details)?
The 1917 Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Giants in the 1917 World Series. Fans of the pale hose had to wait eighty-eight years before the 2005 White Sox defeated the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series before they could experience what poet Greg Karas calls "Unbridled Joy":
"Unbridled Joy & The Lifting of the Burden from the Past"
One day Walter Payton died and Michael went away,
The men who once inspired us no longer came to play.
And Baseball? Well, the Yankees win, or else some brand new team,
In this town baseball is the surest way to kill a Dream.
The Northside had a Billy Goat, Black Cat, a guy named Steve,
Some people thought these were the reasons they did not achieve.
You think about Jack Brickhouse, Billy, Ron, and Ernie too,
You know these fellows always did the best that they could do.
When was it? 1959? And that was measured joy,
You know that was so long ago Mayor Daley was a boy.
Ah, Luis Aparicio, the music of that name!
Would there ever be a shortstop who could make us feel the same?
So really, 1917, that's how far back it stretched.
To folks who live in other towns that must sound so far fetched!
Except perhaps in Boston, where the Carmines shared that fate,
Until they showed the baseball world that others could be great.
When Shoeless Joe and his pals won so very long ago,
I think it didn't cross their minds, there's no way they could know...
That two World Wars would come and go, and we'd land on the Moon,
And radio, jet planes, and television would come soon.
That all those things would come to pass before we'd cheer anew,
My father lived past eighty years and died 'fore it came true.
So people in the streets today, they cheered, and hugged, and cried.
Because the Sox this season were a team no one denied.
Four pitchers with an Iron Will were steadfast on that mound,
Jose and Jon, with Mark and Freddy always stood their ground.
The men who roamed the Bullpen had ice water in their veins,
And Cora watched the third baseline, the other side had Raines.
Crede, Juan, and Tadahito always passed the test,
Paulie smashed that Grand slam in Game 2, that was the best!
And what about Podsednik? How he stood there in the rain,
And launched a ball into the seats which took away our pain.
Remember that Geoff Blum? You know you couldn't write that story,
The dad of triplets, 14th inning, helps cement the glory.
And A.J. on that dropped third strike, he kept presence of mind,
Then Crede drove him in so we no longer were behind!
Jermaine was voted MVP, he hit in every game,
The RBI in Game 4 was the final key to fame.
And Rowand's glove, and Crede's dives, Konerko's digs in dirt,
The leather Juan flashed in the 9th made all of Texas hurt.
These guys just played baseball, that's all they really did,
It made me think of Willie Mays back when I was a kid.
I used to watch Brooks Robinson and marvel at his style,
The new White Sox who won this crown bring back that childhood smile.
Jerry Reinsdorf showed some class, he sent 8 busses in,
That helped to cleanse the city of that ancient Black Sox sin.
And Kenny Williams built the team with Ozzie by his side,
Together, those guys had a plan to bring back baseball pride.
Ozzie, Ozzie Guillen, what can anybody say?
He kept 'em loose, he took the heat, so they could just go play.
He made the calls, the calls were right, he made our dreams come true,
He proved to all those "experts" that he knows more than they do.
So now we have 'Unbridled Joy', and that sensation's real,
It's taken 88 years, but now that's the thing we feel.
Say it, say it slowly, "White Sox, Champions of the World."
And watch as that great banner comes to town and gets unfurled.
And cheer as that bright trophy with those pennants in a ring,
Comes back here to Chicago so that all around might sing.
And Thank the Lord Almighty that this day has come at last,
That Ozzie and his White Sox slew the burden of the past.
By Greg Karas © 2006. Baseball Almanac.
Unofficial franchise nicknames for the Chicago White Sox have included the Hitless Wonder White Sox of 1906 (click here for roster), the Black Sox of 1919 (click here for roster) and the Go-Go Sox of 1959 (click here for roster).