2005: Paul Konerko, ALCS MVP
Paul Konerko got the Chicago White Sox off to a quick start in Game 3 of the 2005 ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels, belting a three-run homer in the top of the first off Angels starter John Lackey. The White Sox never trailed in the game and took a 2-1 series lead with their 5-2 win.
Konerko liked that plan so much, he duplicated it in Game 4. This time it was a three-run bomb off Ervin Santana to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead they would never relinquish. Chicago’s 8-2 victory gave the Sox a commanding 3-1 lead.
In Game 5, he provided a dagger in the top of the ninth off Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, lofting a double to right field with two on and no one out, giving the White Sox a 5-3 lead en route to a 6-3 series clinching victory.
Konerko went 6-for-21 in the series, hitting .286/.318/.619 in 22 plate appearances. His two homers and seven RBI all came as Chicago swept the Games 3, 4 and 5 at Anaheim after splitting the first two games of the series at home.
He also delivered a grand slam as the White Sox swept the Houston Astros in the World Series.
During the regular season, Konerko was named an All-Star for the second time, hitting .283/.375/.534 in 158 games. In 664 plate appearances, Konerko hit 40 homers and drove in 100 runs while scoring a career-best 98, with 81 walks and 109 strikeouts.
Konerko came to Chicago in a November 1998 trade that sent outfielder Mike Cameron to the Cincinnati Reds. He wound up spending 16 seasons with the White Sox, hitting 432 home runs. That is second in franchise history behind only Frank Thomas’ 448.