Chicago White Sox
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Chicago White Sox
While the dominance of their early years has been diminished because of the infamous "Black Sox" scandal of 1919, the Chicago White Sox have quietly been one of the more exciting franchises in baseball for over a century. Just when everyone is ready to count them out, that's when the "Good Guys" strike. To make them even more admirable, they also hold ultimate bragging rights over their crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cubs. It was the South Siders who won the only all-Chicago World Series in 1906, and it's the Sox who have brought the Windy City its most recent world championship.
Proud winners of six American League pennants, the White Sox have also left an indelible mark on the entertainment aspect of the game. Owner Bill Veeck revolutionized the fan experience in the '60s with innovations such as light-up scoreboards, fireworks, and putting players' last names on the back of their jerseys. These experiments weren't always a success, though. Ideas such as having the team wear shorts or letting fans pay 98 cents for admission if they promised to destroy a bunch of disco records never quite caught on and were quickly done away with.
In 1959, led by the slick fielding duo of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, the "Go Go" Sox captured their first American League pennant in 40 years. However, fans would have to wait until 1983 before seeing their team in the playoffs again. Under the guidance of manager Tony LaRussa, the '83 Sox won 99 games en route to a division title, and also famously were forced to don shorts for one game. In 1991, the White Sox moved into a revamped Comiskey Park, and along with the new digs, a new era of baseball arrived in the South Side.
First baseman Frank Thomas is the star who shone the brightest for White Sox teams of the '90s. "The Big Hurt" smacked 41 home runs and drove in 128 RBI in 1993 as Chicago booked their first trip to the playoffs in a decade. In 1994, Thomas was on pace for the Triple Crown, and the White Sox appeared poised for a title run. However, the labor strike in September forced a cancellation of the remainder of the season. On the strength of his 521 career home runs, lifetime batting average of .301, and two MVP awards, Thomas was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Finally, in 2005, the "Good Guys" caught fire at just the right time and roared through the playoffs. Losing only one game in October, Chicago made quick work of the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic and celebrated their first World Series championship since 1917.
The team from the South Side has had its ups and downs, but that hasn't stopped fans (including Barack Obama) from showing their support. In recent years, former players such as Ozzie Guillen and Robin Ventura have served as manager of the team, creating the sense that once you’re a member of the White Sox, you’re always a member of the White Sox.