Things couldn't be much better on the South Side. The Sox are 10 games over .500 on the strength of a five-game winning streak and three games ahead of the Indians as we head into the last game before the All-Star break. And there's a new folk hero in town as Kevin Youkilis, who joined the Sox on June 25, has taken the Cell by storm.
For those White Sox fans of a certain age, we've been here before.
In 1959, as the Sox were headed for their first A.L. pennant in 40 years, the club acquired National League slugger Ted Kluszewski from the Pirates on August 25 to help put them over the top. He was a solid addition at first base and hit two homers in Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers as the Sox coasted 11-0.
In 1983, after a slow start, the Sox obtained second baseman Julio Cruz from the Mariners on June 15. He was important cog in the offense as the South Siders won the A.L. West by 20 games.
In 2005, The Sox picked up infielder Geoff Blum from the Padres at the July 31 trading deadline. Blum saved his heroics for Game 3 of the World Series as he hit the game-winning homer in the 14th inning.
In 2008, at the trading deadline, the Sox dealt for future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey from the Reds in an attempt to win the A.L. Central. Griffey's throw to nail a baserunner at home was key to the Sox's 1-0 victory in Game 163 that gave them the division title.
With apologies to Big Klu, Cruz, Blum and Griffey, "Youk," if the Sox surprise the baseball world and win the division, could be the best in-season "championship" pickup of all.
Since joining the Sox, the former Red Sox star who dons two World Series rings, has driven in 13 runs in 12 games and made a habit of game-winning hits. He did it again yesterday as his two-run homer over the centerfield fence was all the Sox needed in their 2-0 victory over the Jays.
The world works in strange ways. As the Sox have been dealing with injuries, disappointing attendence and the skeptics, along comes Youkilis, a hard-nosed winner who just may be the answer to our prayers.