While the Chicago Cubs receive most of my vitriol these days, during the mid-1990s to early-00s there was no franchise in baseball I abhorred more than the Cleveland Indians. There were two reasons for this.
First, the Indians were awesome then. You might recall that from 1995-2001 they never won fewer than 86 games and won the AL Central all but one of the those seasons (finishing 2nd the other). They made to World Series twice (’95, ’97, losing both) and reached the ALCS another time. The dominance of these Indians kept my White Sox from doing anything of significance other than our out-of-nowhere 2000 season.
The second reason I hated the Indians was a man named Frank Dorazio. Frank worked with my dad when I lived in West Lafayette and could actually watch every White Sox game, which is when I really became a die-hard. Unfortunately this coincided with the Indians’ run, and since I saw Frank often I could never escape his wrath. He was (and I assume still is) a big Indians fan and was never bashful about rubbing it in my face that the Indians always had the leg up on the White Sox.
I’m sure that Frank has watched in amusement over the past decade as, one by one, all of those former Indians from the mid-1990s have made their way to Chicago during the latter stages of their careers. The latest example is Manny Ramirez, who is expected to join the White Sox later today.
Because I apparently feel like torturing myself with the White Sox hanging by a thread at 4.5 games out, here is the roster of players I used to hate with every fiber of my being that I later was forced to cheer for once they donned White Sox black.
Sadly, it would make a pretty nice starting lineup, especially during interleague play.
Kenny Lofton – CF
Roberto Alomar – 2B
Manny Ramirez – LF
Albert Belle – RF
Jim Thome – 3B
Sandy Alomar Jr – C
Julio Franco – 1B
Omar Vizquel – SS
I suppose we could bring back The Milkman Herbert Perry to play 3rd and bump Thome over to DH in AL parks. See…how White Soxian is this? I’m assembling a team built for the NL first, as opposed to the league the White Sox actually play in. Kind of like how Ken Williams has gone about building this year’s Sox team.
Oh well. The White Sox have Manny now. Nothing was harder than learning to cheer for Jim Thome so I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Let’s just hope Manny can get a little bit of that late-90s feeling back. The White Sox could use down the stretch.
Oh, and by the way Frank, if you have Google Alerts on your name and somehow find your way to this article: laugh and make all the jokes you want. You may have owned an entire half decade, but you never finished the job like the White Sox did in 2005. Damn it feels good to finally have the trump card.