Jackson throws first pitch to Ventura
Former White Sox fan favorites on hand for Game 2
CHICAGO -- It brought back memories of 1993 when two of the White Sox favorite sons, Bo Jackson and Robin Ventura, took the field for the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the 2005 World Series at U.S. Cellular Field.
"It was good, it was really good," said Jackson, the former Heisman Trophy winner who resurrected his career in 1993 by hitting 16 home runs for the American League West champion White Sox after missing the entire 1992 season after undergoing hip replacement surgery. "But the last time in '93 when we almost got there, that was good. This couldn't have happened to a better bunch of guys. I think [the World Series] is right on time for everybody, for [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf], for [manager] Ozzie [Guillen], for [general manager] Kenny [Williams], for all of the coaches who have played here. It almost makes it feel like a big family reunion and everybody is having a good time."
"It's nice to come back here when you know a lot of people, front office, coaches, things like that," said Ventura, who caught Jackson's pitch Sunday night. "It's nice to come back. [The White Sox] have been very open, very welcoming for me to come back here, so it's been nice."
Jackson, whose food supply company is providing food for the U.S. troops based in the Middle East, said he is very impressed with the 2005 White Sox.
"I think the thing that makes this team so special is that everybody brings a different attitude to the table," said Jackson. "When you combine all of those attitudes, it makes a good single ingredient for winning, and that's good. You have a manager who is half-crazy, you have players with attitudes out the gazoo, but they all come together when they step between those white lines and they all work for one thing -- and that is to put a 'W' on the board."
Ventura, who played 10 seasons for the White Sox, has nothing but praise for Guillen, who played with Ventura in Chicago for nine seasons. The former third baseman said he was always certain Guillen would one day be a big league manager.
"When the position was open [after the 2003 season], I mentioned to my wife that he was probably going to be the manager," said Ventura. "Some people probably scratched their head, but I had no thoughts that he would never be a manager and especially when Jeff [Torborg] took him to Montreal [to be a coach], I kind of knew he was looking in that direction, but I knew this is the place he would really thrive in, [because] it meant so much to him.
"It's different for someone who put so much time here, as far as the relationship he has with Jerry and Kenny. This probably means more to him and he shows that a lot."
As for possibly joining his buddy as a member of his coaching staff, Ventura, who retired as a player after the 2004 season, just smiles.
"You never know what he's going to say," said Ventura about Guillen's overtures to join him in Chicago. "Don't believe it. It's fun to just come in for a couple of days and just hang out with him and that's it."
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.