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Comparing 2008 to 2021

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For the first time in 13 years, the Chicago White Sox are American League Central Division Champions. Let’s travel back in time to the last division championship.

MLB: Game Two-Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

[On this, the 13th anniversary of 2008’s Blackout Game, we’re running two features devoted to it — and with the White Sox’s recent announcement that all 2021 home playoff games will be “blacked out,” the timing couldn’t be better. Enjoy!]

It had been 13 years since the last time the Chicago White Sox were American League Central Division Champions.

A lot has changed since 2008 — in baseball, the White Sox, and in the world.

Let’s take a quick look back at the state of the world the last time the White Sox were AL Central champs.


Major League Baseball

  • Instant replay was introduced for the first time in 2008, but challenges would not emerge for another several years
  • The Houston Astros were a National League team
  • No wild card games
  • No players on the 2021 White Sox had made their major league debut
  • The Chicago Cubs “curse” reached its 100th year
  • The Minnesota Twins played at the Metrodome
  • Shea Stadium and Old Yankee Stadium were in their final seasons
  • Mike Mussina and Greg Maddux were pitching in their final seasons

Other Sports

  • The Chicago Bulls made Derrick Rose the first overall pick in the NBA draft
  • The Thunder were playing in their first season in Oklahoma City after ducking out of Seattle
  • The New York Giants spoiled the New England Patriots’ unbeaten season in February’s Super Bowl
  • The Detroit Lions went 0-16
  • Aaron Rodgers made his first NFL start
  • The Summer Olympics took place in Beijing
  • Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was the Heisman Trophy winner
  • The College Football Playoff was still six years away from existence
  • The Chicago Blackhawks were in their 47th year of a Stanley Cup Championship drought
  • Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on a torn ACL, would miss the remainder of the 2008 season following the win

United States

  • Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges in November
  • George W. Bush was the President at the time of the White Sox’ playoff berth, but Barack Obama would be elected the 44th President of the United States in November
  • Unemployment reached its highest point in almost 20 years (7.2%)
  • Bernie Madoff was arrested for his infamous Ponzi scheme
  • America was officially in an economic recession
  • The Iraq War was in its fifth year

Pop Culture

  • Twilight premiered in November
  • Beyonce and Jay-Z got married in April
  • Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Ellen Degeneres celebrated their 50th birthdays
  • “Low” by Flo Rida was the top-selling song of the year
  • Tesla released its first car
  • Crowdsourcing was invented (GoFundMe, Patreon, and other sites were not invented yet)
  • Ride sharing apps did not exist
  • PayPal was around, but Venmo and other payment apps did not exist
  • Instagram and Snapchat did not exist
  • Netflix was in its debut year

Between sports, media, pop culture and America, a whole lot changed in-between the South Side’s last two Central Division titles. Given the bright future, it likely won’t be another 13 years before the White Sox are next crowned AL Central champs.