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Comparing 2008 to 2021

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.