The Chicago White Sox had a lot of things going for them in 2006 and A.J. Pierzynski was at the center of it all during very fun times.
The Chicago White Sox have had some great players playing for them over the past few decades. Not many of them were as memorable for multiple different reasons as A.J. Pierzynski. He was an elite catcher for a long time but he was also a great guy off the field as well. He had a personality that not many baseball players have. He had a sense of attitude to him that you love if he is on the team you cheer for.
Well, you might not love him if you cheer for a rival of the White Sox. That was proven on this day in 2006 when the Chicago Cubs took offense to A.J. in the middle of an afternoon cross-town classic game. Pierzynski ran into Cubs catcher Michael Barrett at a play at the plate as he was trying to score. When A.J. was called out he slammed his hand on the home plate which annoyed Barrett and he punched A.J. in the face.
It was an embarrassing day for the Chicago Cubs organization because Barrett proved that A.J. owns Chicago. Yes, A.J. took the punch but the White Sox won the game 7-0. They rallied behind A.J. and beat the Cubs pretty handily. The defending World Series champion White Sox had a stranglehold on the city of Chicago at that point in time whether or not people want to admit it.
It was a great day for the Chicago White Sox. They were a great team that now had an exciting moment to rally behind. For that one year, A.J. was the most important player in Chicago baseball. There were great players who might be better on the field like Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, and Jermaine Dye but A.J. was the face of the White Sox. There is no doubt that he is one of the most important White Sox players in the modern era.