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No fear: Uribe goes head over heels

No fear: Uribe goes head over heels

HOUSTON -- They only present Most Valuable Player Awards for the World Series, not Gold Gloves.

But if anyone was looking for an excuse to start a new tradition following Wednesday night's final game of the 2005 World Series, Chicago shortstop Juan Uribe offered the necessary argument in the White Sox 1-0 clincher over the Astros.

Making a late rush to swipe that mythical fielding award away from teammate third baseman Joe Crede, Uribe roamed with abandon all over Minute Maid Park to make a series of late-game plays that towered over a one-run decision.

In the process, the little-known 26-year-old Dominican reinforced the notion that a World Series does not need the presence of pinstripes to offer the height of human drama and athleticism.

He did so by turning his centerpiece play into a re-enactment of the arguably most celebrated play of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's career: His reckless dive into Yankee Stadium's third-base boxes for a face-smashing catch of an extra-inning popup against the Red Sox.

Uribe?

With the tying run on second and one out in the ninth inning, with each pitch out of exhausted right-hander Bobby Jenks' arm a precious commodity, he watched Houston pinch-hitter Chris Burke lift a 2-2 pitch toward the short-left boxes facing the plate -- and decided he was not going to let it be a souvenir.

While Crede gradually back-tracked to the spot he expected the ball to descend, Uribe dashed over from his position, left his feet, made a backhanded grab -- and disappeared among the fans in the fifth row.

The first indication that he had caught the ball was Crede immediately pointing to second, where Jason Lane was tagging up.

Uribe emerged from the stands quick enough to keep Lane on second.

Then he secured the game, and handed the White Sox the World Series trophy, by dashing in for pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro's slow roller and nipping the fleet outfielder with a strong throw to first.

Uribe had ended the eighth inning in similar fashion, after the White Sox had scored the game's only run in the top of the inning and the Astros had responded by placing runners at the corners with two outs.

Left-hander Neal Cotts relieved and Jose Vizcano pinch-hit, setting the scene for a breathtaking moment.

Vizcaino worked the count to 2--2, then shattered his bat on a grounder by Cotts and into apparent tie-game territory.

But Uribe tore in, barehanded the ball and unleashed a sure throw to first baseman Paul Konerko, who shook his head in wonder all the way from the bag into his team's third base dugout.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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