The 2005 season was magical for the Chicago White Sox.
The team stayed in first place nearly all year, the pitching staff was phenomenal, “Ozzie-ball” was in full effect for the offense and the end result saw a championship trophy reside in Chicago for the first time since Jordan’s Bulls.
Several key White Sox players were the pride of Chicago as well. The quartet of Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Freddie Garcia and Jon Garland let Sox fans put out their chest, proudly boasting about the best rotation in the big leagues. “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas finally got his ring despite not being the same presence he once was.
But the single player most Sox fans connected with was none other than centerfielder, Aaron Rowand.
Rowand gave little to no regard for his body, sacrificing it regularly to make key defensive stops, as well as being a solid presence at the plate. He was one of the big reasons won their ring.
The next year he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for 1B Jim Thome and Rowand’s career with the White Sox was effectively over.
But to this day, he’s still helping the White Sox.
His cousin, James Shields, is the White Sox most recent acquisition to help bolster the front line behind Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
According to Shields, who makes his debut with the South Siders tonight, Rowand would drag his younger cousin out to Las Vegas in order to show him how a big leaguer prepares himself for the upcoming season. It’s worked out thus far, as Shields has been one of baseball’s most durable players over the last decade. The best ability, after all, is availability.
Shields comes to White Sox as a man that desperately needs a change of scenery, starting this year 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA. For the White Sox, they desperately need a consistent arm behind their ace Chris Sale and underrated star Jose Quintana, as Matt Latos and Carlos Rodon have each had their disappointments.
Shields was a major part of the Royals team that lost to the Giants in the World Series in 2014, but hasn’t quite regained his stellar form. However, perhaps Don Cooper can light a fire in Shields to get the best out of him.
Both sides need each other and that’s evident. For the White Sox, it’s about making up lost ground after their nearly month-long skid and chasing a Wild Card berth, division title or maybe even a World Series ring. For Shields, it’s about regaining his lost form and proving that he can still be at the very least a more than serviceable piece of the rotation.
Maybe, just maybe, he’ll win a ring with his cousin’s old team.