There are very few things that can happen on the baseball field that are more memorable and exciting than a walk-off home run. Some of the greatest highlights in the history of baseball are walk offs. Bobby Thompson. Carlton Fisk. Kirk Gibson. Kirby Puckett. Joe Carter. When I mention these names, I am sure the highlights are running through your heads.
The White Sox are no stranger to memorable walk off homers. Obviously, the biggest one came off the bat of Scott Podsednik who ended game 2 of the 2005 World Series with a bomb off of Brad Lidge. Jim Thome made his 500th home run even more special by making sure it ended a game against the Angels in 2007. Harold Baines ended the longest game in the history of baseball with a homer in the 25th inning against the Brewers, one of his 10 career walk-off homers. Joe Crede brought home a White Sox winner on September 20th, 2005 which stopped the White Sox from collapsing.
A couple other walk-off shots I remember came off the bats of Carlos Lee and Frank Thomas. Lee ended a game against the Cubs on June 8, 2001 with a grand slam off of Courtney Duncan sending Comiskey Park into a frenzy. Thomas sent fans home happy on July 14, 1998 when he took Rick Aguilera deep to beat the Twins. That one was memorable for me because I was at the game with my Twin fan buddy and the ball sailed right over our heads in left field. Every time we go to a game, that homer is brought up.
The last two Friday nights, Sox fans were treated to game ending home runs by Alex Rios and Jordan Danks. With the Sox in a battle for the playoffs, both of these dingers were huge. Besides Ray Olmedo, Danks is the least likely Sox player to win a game by going yard. But he did for his first Major League homer. It was a no doubter. The crowd went wild as soon as the ball left the bat and all of a sudden I'm jumping (yes, I got at least 3 inches in the air) and giving out high fives to random people around me. It's an awesome feeling. After the game I rushed home so I could hear the Hawk call it on TV, just like I did the week before. Here is to having a couple more this year... and maybe one or two in October.
Speaking of October, this is shaping up to be a great race for the playoffs in the American League. The Yankees and Rangers are up 5.5 games in their division and the White Sox lead the Tigers by a game in the Central. Hopefully we keep that lead because the Wild Cards are starting to get a little crowded. The Tigers, Orioles, Athletics, Rays and Angels are all within a game of each other. This has potential to be one of the most exciting races we have ever seen. I keep waiting for a couple of teams to fall out and for the picture to become more clear, but instead more teams are joining the race. The rest of the season is going to be a roller coaster. Hopefully the Sox (and their fans) are prepared for the ride.