CHICAGO -- According to Paul Konerko, the Chicago White Sox did not believe the 2005 World Series was over before it began. Instead, Konerko realized it probably was locked up just a few innings after Game 1 started.
Speaking on a panel at SoxFest over the weekend that included 2005 teammates Aaron Rowand, Joe Crede and Jermaine Dye, Konerko told a story of an interaction with a Houston Astros player at first base during the early part of Game 1.
The player, who Konerko refused to name, reached first base and proceeded to congratulate Konerko on the White Sox making the World Series. Konerko returned the congratulations.
As Konerko continued to hold the runner on the bag, though, he was surprised at how the conversation progressed.
The comments from the Astros player revealed that he was extremely moved by the extravagant pregame ceremonies at U.S. Cellular Field. Those words helped Konerko come to a realization.
As Konerko put it, he could sense the Astros were simply pleased with getting to the World Series. In the captain’s mind, all the White Sox had to do was play their game and the title would be theirs.
So who could have made such comments? A check of the Game 1 box score reveals that only four players were being held on by Konerko over the first six innings.
Jeff Bagwell was hit by a pitch in the second inning and then erased on a double play three pitches later. In the third inning Brad Ausmus singled and was on first base for four pitches until Adam Everett's ground ball forced him out at second base. That put Everett on first base for five pitches until Craig Biggio singled. Biggio was on first base for two pitches until Willy Taveras had a sacrifice bunt.
Nobody on the Astros was on first base again until the seventh inning when Bagwell was hit by another pitch.
Whoever it was, it really doesn’t matter. The important thing for the White Sox was that Konerko thought his club had the mental advantage.
Four games later, Konerko’s initial hunch proved correct. The White Sox finished off the four-game sweep at Houston a few days later and the club’s 88-year championship drought had ended.