After 16 years of playing baseball for the Chicago White Sox, first baseman and team captain Paul Konerko is retiring from the game. He has given the city of Chicago some unforgettable moments during his illustrious career.
The one that resonates with most fans is the grand slam he hit in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series against the Houston Astros. I'll never forget watching the game at my friend's house, biting my nails and gnashing my teeth, fearful that my team couldn't close the deal. But then Konerko came up in the seventh inning and blasted that ball into left field, giving the Sox a 6 to 4 lead and an ultimate victory. I remember laughing, crying and hugging everyone in the room and chanting, "Paulie, Paulie"—it was then I really thought the Sox could go all the way. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. As a lifelong White Sox fan it was a moment I'll never forget. There is a blue seat at U.S. Cellular Field among a sea of green ones, section 159, row 7, seat 4, commemorating where the ball landed.
Konerko has been a grinder his entire career with the Sox, playing in 2,342 games, getting 2,238 hits and 439 home runs. He was an integral part of the White Sox, winning the World Series in 2005 and forever endearing himself to legions of fans desperate for their first World Series win in 88 years. Konerko is the last player left from that magical group of guys, and I, for one, will be sad to see him go. He was a class act and the South Side salutes him! If you're going to miss watching the White Sox during the long winter months ahead, you can always read about their glory days from the selections below:
White Sox Glory: For the Love of Nellie, Shoeless Joe and Konerko by Alan Ross is full of stories reminiscing about the White Sox, including former and current players, coaches, fans, opponents and sports writers.
Say It's So by Phil Rogers is the story of the 2005 Chicago White Sox players: 25 guys and how they won the World Series making believers out of a cynical city.
Game of My Life by Lew Freedman features interviews with more than 20 former and current Chicago White Sox players, from Billy Pierce to Mark Buehrle, as they share their fondest, single game experience.