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October 27, 2005


Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox, who captured a World Series title for the first time since 1917. The Sox won sixteen of their last seventeen games including eleven of twelve in the postseason. All told, they won 110 games and lost only 64, leaving no doubt as to who was the best team in baseball in 2005.

Congratulations also to the Houston Astros. It’s easy for me to be philosophical about their goose egg in the Series because my affection for them is only casual, but they really did have a fantastic season. Remember, they lost both Jeff Kent and Carlos Beltran over the offseason and spent several weeks without Lance Berkman, who shredded his knee playing flag football. They signed exactly one Major-League free agent, the long-departed John Franco. Over at the Batter’s Box in March, I predicted they’d just barely surpass .500, and frankly I wouldn’t have been surprised if they didn’t achieve even that modest goal.

On May 24, the Astros had a record of 15-30, worse than every team in the National League except the miserable Colorado Rockies. They were 2-21 on the road. Two and twenty-one. Texas had recently swept them in Arlington by scores of 7-3, 18-3 and 2-0. Writers, talk-show hosts and fans speculated on whether Texas might acquire Roger Clemens to assist in their division run.

Houston finished the season 74-43 (including a 34-24 road record) and then defeated the best two teams in the NL to reach the World Series. They lost their four games to the Sox by a total of six runs. Twenty years from now, people will still talk about Game Four against Atlanta and Game Three against Chicago. The Astros and their fans have reason to be proud once the pain of losing dissipates.

Posted by Lucas at October 27, 2005 08:39 AM