Dye takes MVP for the team

Dye takes MVP for the team

HOUSTON -- Call him Shoeless Jermaine Dye. The World Series-winning base hit will long be remembered in the annals of Chicago White Sox history. Dye won the MVP of the four-game series for smacking it and with that single act, wiped away the image of Joe Jackson and the Black Sox forever.

The White Sox hadn't won the World Series since 1917. And two years later, Jackson's team was accused of throwing that Fall Classic to Cincinnati. Eight men, including Shoeless Joe, were banished from baseball forever.

But Dye hit a simple ground ball up the middle against Houston reliever Brad Lidge, driving home pinch-hitter Willie Harris from third base with the lone run of the game. It gave the White Sox a 1-0 victory over the Astros in Game 4 at Minute Maid Park and their first World Series title since all those trials and tribulations.

"I had a game plan going up there," said Dye, who was 3-for-4 in the game with two singles and a double. "I know he throws a lot of sliders. He throws hard, but usually his fastball just keeps you honest. And I stuck with the game plan going up there, looking for a slider and just not trying to do too much with it."

Dye, who hit .438 (7-for-16) with a homer and three runs batted in, is the first member of the White Sox to win the World Series MVP in club history. The award was inaugurated in 1955 and the White Sox haven't been in the Fall Classic since 1959, when they lost to the Dodgers in six games.

It was one of those Octobers when the award could have gone to any of a number of Chicago players -- Paul Konerko, whose grand slam in Game 2 was the first in the World Series by a member of the White Sox; Joe Crede, who homered in Games 1 and 3 and literally saved Game 1 for the White Sox with his incredible diving stabs at third base, and reliever Bobby Jenks, who appeared in every game of the series and earned saves in Games 1 and 4.

But Dye set the tone in the first inning of Game 1 when he homered with two out off a struggling Roger Clemens.

And during Tuesday night's marathon 14-inning win, Dye had a fifth-inning RBI-single and opened the decisive final frame with another single. He had hits in four of his last five World Series at-bats.

"When a lot of guys can win the MVP, that's just a great accomplishment to get it," Dye said. "We all worked hard to do whatever we could to help this team win and guys came up with big hits in a lot of situations. It's just special for me to be thought of as MVP and become an MVP from that that group."

Dye played in the World Series for the Atlanta Braves against the Yankees in 1996 and was part of Oakland teams that went to the American League Division Series from 2001-03. All lost.

Dye left the A's after the 2004 season and signed a two-year, $9 million deal that added a $6 million club option for 2007 with the White Sox last offseason. He said he knew when he sat down with general manager Ken Williams that the White Sox had a chance to go all the way.

"He just showed me on paper what the makeup of this team would be like," Dye said. "And I always know, from being around this game long enough, that pitching and defense wins. I just knew our starting pitchers and our bullpen had the capability of going out there and shutting a lot of teams down, getting a lot of wins.

"From the start of Spring Training, everybody was hungry. Everybody wanted to go out there and win together. Everybody was pulling on the same rope."

The White Sox won an AL-leading 99 games and including the postseason, finished on an incredible 16-1 run. Dye hit .274 with 33 homers, 86 RBIs and 145 hits in 145 regular-season games.

He became a mainstay in right field and now he's a mainstay in White Sox history.

"It's been a long time since [the White Sox] have been in the World Series and won," said Dye. "And it means a lot, not only to us in the clubhouse, but to the organization, to the fans and to the city. It's just a great feeling. We're just happy to be able to bring a championship to the city of Chicago. It's really special."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.