I rise today as a U.S. Senator, as an Illinoisan,
and as a proud resident of the Southside of Chicago, to congratulate
the Chicago White Sox for winning the 2005 World Series. As my fellow
Southsiders know, it has been a long time coming.
Founded in 1900 as the Chicago White Stockings,
this year's team reached the World Series for the first time since
1959. Over a century of White Sox fans have cheered for superstars
such as Luke Appling, Nellie Fox, Carlton Fisk, Luis Aparicio, Harold
Baines, and of course Big Frank Thomas. But we haven't savored the
sweet taste of a World Series championship since 1917 - until now.
Back then, Woodrow Wilson was President, and the
Great War was raging in Europe. The White Sox were a bright spot
in tough times.
The Sox won last night the way they have won all
season--by playing aggressively, scrapping for every base and every
run. When Juan Uribe threw to Paul Konerko for the final out, it
was fitting that the ball beat the runner by only half a step. The
four games against the Astros were decided by a total of six runs.
Win by the skin of your teeth. Win or die trying, that's our motto
Jermaine Dye is the World Series MVP, and I congratulate
him for that, but I'm sure he'll be the first to say that everyone
on this year's team deserves a part of that award. This is a team
with so many great players, but no undisputed leader on the field.
I don't claim to be a baseball expert - or particularly unbiased
on this matter - but this is one of the most selfless, balanced
teams I've ever seen. A team of unlikely heroes.
Scott Podsednik, who hadn't hit a home run all season,
stepped up and hit two in the playoffs, including the walk-off winner
in Game 2 on Sunday. Willie Harris, who barely played in the playoffs,
got a pinch hit to get on base and bring home the only run last
night. Geoff Blum, a former Astro, who got a pinch hit homer in
the 14th inning to give us the margin of victory in Game 3. And
the pitching--four complete games to close out the American League
Championship Series. An 11 and 1 record in the playoffs. 15 scoreless
innings to finish the World Series.
Before the season started, the Sox were a consensus
.500 team. Even as we built and maintained the best record in the
American League all season, there were many doubters. Towards the
end of the season, we hit a rough patch, and the doubters got louder.
They said Cleveland had more playoff experience. They said even
if we held on to make the playoffs, we would get embarrassed in
the first round. But during the stretch run, manager Ozzie Guillen
and his "kids," as he calls them, were calm and relaxed.
Even as Cleveland came on strong and our lead in the Central Division
dwindled, Ozzie's kids continued to play pranks on each other in
the clubhouse, and continued to run hard on the basepaths.
Once the playoffs started, there was no looking
back. That difficult September was gone in an instant. We silenced
the doubters by sweeping the World Champion Boston Red Sox. We silenced
the Angels during the ALCS in five games. And we swept the Astros
in four games.
I had the privilege of attending game one of the
World Series on Saturday, and the fans in and around the park were
a cross-section of the city. There were plenty of folks old enough
to remember the '59 team. Almost everyone remembered the 2000 team
that made the playoffs. A few were even alive in 1917. A staffer
of mine, a Southside Irishman and a Sox fan all his life, mentioned
a 92-year-old woman at Saturday's game. She was jumping and cheering
so much with every hit and every run that my staffer worried for
I would like to congratulate the entire White Sox
organization, in particular Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams, and
Ozzie Guillen. We will be celebrating this victory for a long time
on the Southside, around the city of Chicago, and around the entire
state of Illinois.
Later today, Senator Durbin and I will be introducing
a resolution honoring the White Sox, and we will be asking for its
immediate consideration and adoption. Thank you, and I yield the