Late in 2007 Torii Hunter signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Also in the running for Hunter were the Texas Rangers and, of course, the White Sox. I will always remember Thanksgiving of 2007 because I must have checked MLB.com three hundred times that day. Much like when the Sox were in the hunt for Johnny Damon, I couldn’t leave the computer for this one.
Hunter was coming off of a crazy good year, batting .287 with 28 home runs and 107 RBI. That kind of production is always welcome on the South Side. Waiting for his decision was agonizing. My family was celebrating Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house down in Southern Illinois and, frankly, I was surprised she even had internet. When I found out she did I spent most of my time in the computer room eating turkey and mashed potatoes and clicking the refresh button. At one point I even locked the door to keep my cousins from bothering me. Of course nobody in my family or my extended family even knew who Torii Hunter was so nobody shared my anticipation. My cousins are all Cubs fans anyway. They all thought I was weird for shutting myself off. But I knew that a big deal was going down and I didn’t want to miss it. Torii signed with the Angels the day after.
Going back a little farther we get to November 25 of 2005, the night Jim Thome was traded to the Sox for Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood. Obviously this was right on the heels of a championship season and I was just getting into baseball so I knew a lot more about Rowand than I did about Thome. I remember exactly where I was. We were in a mall parking lot waiting for my sisters to finish shopping and I was watching the snow fall on the ground with my head pressed against the car window. I’ve always been a radio guy and on the night of November 25 I was listening to 670 The Score when the news broke that we had acquired Thome from the Phillies. I ripped my headphones off and shouted to my dad from the back seat, “We traded Rowand!” I just couldn’t believe it. He was so good in the World Series, why would we get rid of him? But when I got home I did some research on this Thome guy and realized maybe it was a good trade after all.
Thanksgiving holds good memories for me and the White Sox. I’m not expecting them to do anything huge this weekend but if they could keep the tradition alive and pick up maybe Mike Gonzalez or even settle for bringing Willie Harris back I’d be fine. In the baseball world this year I’m thankful that we don’t have to worry about a lockout, that the Sox now have new hope (insert Star Wars joke or reference) because of the added Wild Card spot, that we have a new manager and didn’t have to go through unnecessary drama in finding him, and that somewhere Geoff Blum is content.