These are the years that are often regarded as the crème de la crème in regards to the World Series: 2011, 2001, 1991, 1986, 1975, and 1960.
However, my personal favorite is the 2005 World Series.
Why the 2005 World Series? - If someone were to simply read the box score of the 2005 World Series in which the Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros, he would get the impression that it was an unmemorable, one-sided affair that perhaps lacked that autumn drama we all hope every World Series delivers. Funny thing is, though, the above statement could not be any further from the truth.
Marvelous pitching, late-inning pageantry, every game being competitive down to the last out, and unforeseen heroes revealing their legend in front of the baseball world are reasons why this World Series captured my imagination then and has always stuck with me as my personal favorite.
Chicago White Sox Standouts: Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik, Juan Uribe, Geoff Blum, Freddy Garcia, Damaso Marte, Neal Cotts
Houston Astros Standouts: Lance Berkman, Morgan Ensberg, Jason Lane, Jose Vizcaino, Brandon Backe, Andy Pettitte, Mike Gallo
World Series MVP: Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox
Game 1: The Rocket Fails to Launch - The 2005 World Series started off with a bang for the South Side when Dye hit a solo home run off Roger Clemens in the bottom of the first inning. Houston and Chicago traded the lead several times until the fourth inning when White Sox 3B Joe Crede hit a solo home run to give the Sox the lead. The White Sox added another insurance run in eighth inning off of a Scott Podsednik triple and won the game 5-3 in Chicago. This would be Clemens' shortest and final World Series appearance.
Game 2: A Chicago Legend Is Cemented - Things where not looking hopeful for the White Sox in Game 2 when they entered the seventh inning trailing 4-2. But Paul Konerko left his mark on the World Series and the city. Houston seemed in control up two runs with only eight outs to go, but Astros pitcher Dan Wheeler allowed a double, a walk, and a controversial hit batsman to load the bases. With two outs, bases loaded, and fresh Astros reliever Chad Qualls in the game, Konerko stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam on the very first pitch, sending US Cellular Field into pandemonium.
Game 2: Astros Strike Back - Momentum seemed to be overwhelmingly in Chicago's favor when it entered the top of the ninth. There is no possible way Chicago could blow a two-run ninth-inning lead after all that had transpired just innings before, right? Guess again. Houston's Jose Vizcaino hit a pinch-hit single to score two runs and tied Game 2 at 6 apiece. Suddenly, Houston had a new hope and was back in the game as a result of the utility man's resilient at-bat.
Game 2: An Improbable Hero Emerges - With the White Sox reeling after Vizcaino's stunning game-tying single, Houston sent closer Brad Lidge to the mound. What happened next would go down as one of the most implausible moments in World Series history. As Scott Podsednik (a man who hit all of zero home runs in the 2005 regular season) stepped up to the plate, all that White Sox fans could hope for was for the speedster to get on base in hopes of manufacturing the game-winning run. Podsednik sent Chicago into hysteria for the second time that night when he hit a walkoff home run to give Chicago a 2-0 series lead.
Game 3: Houston, We Have a Problem - Once again, things seemed to be looking favorable for the Astros, seeing as they were home at Minute Maid Park and leading 4-0 halfway through Game 3. Chicago's Joe Crede led off the fifth inning with a solo shot and with a few base hits later, suddenly the pendulum seemed to be swinging in favor of the Sox. White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski hit a two-run double to complete the rally and give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. Just like in Game 1 and Game 2, Houston had relinquished the lead.
Game 3: Another Improbable Hero Emerges - With Game 3 tied 5-5 and the game going deeper and deeper into the night, no end seemed in sight. As the 14th inning began and the longest game in World Series history pressed onward, it seemed as if neither team could score a run. With 2-outs and one man on base, another unlikely hero stepped up to the plate in the form of White Sox utility man Geoff Blum. Blum stunned the Houston faithful when he smacked a solo shot off of Houston's Ezequiel Astacio, thus giving the White Sox a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Game 4: The Pitchers' Duel - Houston's Brandon Backe and Chicago's Freddy Garcia both pitched shut-out baseball for seven innings, and Game 4 was up for grabs heading into the top of the eighth inning. This Game 4 pitching performance is regarded by many pundits as the best pitching duel since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. As the story had written itself all series long, Houston once again blinked and a Jermaine Dye single scored the game-winning and series-clinching run.
The 2005 World Series demonstrates that drama can not be articulated through a box score or a stat line. Even though this World Series was not so long ago, it already seems to be a forgotten classic, despite the fact that all four games were some of the best have ever been played.
Benjamin Hanes has lived in Atlanta for the past 23 years where he has been a constant observer of all sporting events.