To commemorate the White Sox's 2005 world title, Sports Illustrated published a commemorative issue with a photo of the Sox celebration immediately after Bobby Jenks retired the Astros' Orlando Palmiero to ensure the four-game sweep.
When word came tonight that A.J. Pierzynski had signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers, three things came to mind:
--None of those pictured on that memorable cover are still in a Sox uniform. They include A.J., Pablo Ozuna, Geoff Blum, Jenks, Joe Crede, Brian Anderson and Brandon McCarthy.
--Paul Konerko is now the lone surviving member of the '05 World Champs. With no disrespect to Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle or the others, Paulie's the right guy to be the last man standing.
--We owe Pierzynski a huge debt of gratitude.
We all know that A.J. was a huge part of the Sox success in his eight years on the South Side, culminating with his career year in 2012 with his 27 homers and 77 RBIs. He was the ultimate competitor, a winner who was always at the right place at the right time. Just ask the Angels about his dash to first on a dropped third strike in the second game of the '05 American League Championship Series that very well may have been the moment when the tide turned toward the Sox.
The truth is that Pierzynski's defense had gone south to the point that the Sox felt it was time to turn things over to Tyler Flowers. It's just the progression of things. But I choose to remember A.J. as a guy every team needs and we were lucky to have him.
We should give him a Standing "O."