The A.J. era is over: All-Star catcher leaves Chicago with outstanding legacy

The A.J. era is over: All-Star catcher leaves Chicago with outstanding legacy

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."

 

 

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  • Although I understand the desire for management (and I suppose some of the pitchers) want to see Tyler Flowers take over. But AJ still has a couple of good years left and is a relative bargain. I believe the White Sox screwed-up here and that has nothing to do with Flowers per se, I just don't think he is an everyday catcher.

    I could be wrong but I would take AJ's intangibles any day of the week even though he is considered somewhat of a defensive liability. Oh well - the beat goes on as the Sox will be hard-pressed to compete in their division in 2013.

  • Not to forget Ed Farmer's "right in the grill," courtesy of Michael Barrett.

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    Art Berke

    Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.

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