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Drought

Jim Caple wrote a pretty good piece about some of the baseball franchises that have waited a long time for a World Series title. Here's the pertinent part for White Sox fans such as myself:


At least Cubs fans can take some solace that an entire nation recognizes their pain and sympathizes. Few remember or know that the White Sox have been just as much of a disaster. The White Sox have played in fewer World Series (one) since the Great Depression than the Cubs (five). The last time they played in the World Series, Ted Williams not only wasn't frozen, he was still playing left field for Boston.

How bad has it been for the White Sox? The last time they won the pennant, in 1959 at the height of the Cold War, frightened people ran into the streets in a panic because the city sounded the air-raid sirens to celebrate and many people thought Chicago was being attacked by the Soviets.

When winning the pennant inspires fear, you know a team is cursed.

And yet, George Will never writes about their suffering.

Roger Bossard has been on the White Sox's grounds crew since 1967 but he's been around W. 35th Street since long before then. His father, Gene, was the head groundskeeper before him, and he can remember lugging water hoses around the field as a kid. He's been around so long he can remember when his father and Sox manager Eddie Stanky would freeze baseballs to cut down on the opposing team's offense. "I would ask my dad, 'What's going on?' And he'd say, 'Don't worry about it, son.'"

He ordered 700 yards of replacement sod overnight after Disco Demolition night in 1979 ("In 39 years, I've only had one day I wasn't happy to go to work and that was after Disco Demolition"), mowed the outfield grass on both sides of 35th Street, watched the Sox wear those shorts pants and today's near bell-bottoms, saw them win ugly in 1983 and lose ugly many other years but he's still waiting to paint a World Series logo behind home plate.

When Bossard does, he knows Chicago's south side will have a party that will put Disco Demolition to shame.

"People forget, there was a time when the Sox used to get the attention," he says. "There was a time when the Cubs didn't draw anybody and we did. But it's not like that anymore. The north-siders get all the attention now. We're a south-side team, a blue-collar team. And we have to win.

"In 1959, I was a youngster, but I can remember when we won the AL championship. Old Richard Daley was mayor and the air-raid sirens went off. I think literally the reaction would be three times that if we won now. Jerry Reinsdorf, who really is such a tremendous fellow, I'm sure he would give up three or four of the Bulls' championship rings just for one for the Sox. Because baseball is his first love.

"That's how important it would be for him and that's how important it would be for everybody."


If White Sox fans don't show a lot of sympathy for other supposedly cursed teams, it's because the Sox's eternal struggle has been ignored outside of Chicago (although, that's not all bad...). The endless lamentations for the BoSox and the Cubs tend to get a little irksome.

One thing is for sure: the last 80+ years have been a whole lot longer for the city of Chicago than they have for the city of Boston.