I've been a White Sox fan since I was seven or eight years old and Ferris Fain was playing first base. I remember Jim Landis' rookie year, his first day in centerfield.
I followed the fortunes of Minnie Minoso, Billy Pierce, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, and "Jungle" Jim Rivera, saving their baseball cards when they showed up in the gum I bought. Who could forget manager Marty Marion, Hall of Famer George Kell, and the big knuckleballer whose name I don't recall, Early Wynn perhaps? Those were the players I loved, whose stats I followed, even when I moved to the north side and had to embrace the Cubs or be drummed out of the neighborhood. Wrigley is a great place, but the White Sox were all that mattered to me.
My father and I, who were not exactly close, had a few moments of peace together. Watching the White Sox was one. When they were playing he would stay in the room and I could talk to him.
When they won the pennant in 1959, he did something completely out of character and bought a commemorative tray with the headline from the newspaper, declaring that the White Sox had won the American League Pennant.
It sat on the ledge by the stairway to the second floor of our house with all the decorative value of a Lava Lamp. But my mother knew how big a fan my dad was and she let it stay there.
One day I was racing off to school and I accidentally bumped the tray off the ledge and it broke into a dozen pieces. I really felt bad about it because he didn't have anything else to remind him about that wonderful year. But he didn't say anything, for which I was grateful. Of course, he didn't forgive me either.
A couple of years ago he died.
I don't miss him the way some people miss their fathers. I didn't cry much either. He was always more of a thorn in my side than a supportive parent.
But last night when the Sox won the pennant, I knew he would have been as thrilled as I am. So I was truly sorry he couldn't be around to enjoy the excitement that's just rocking the city.
Then I remembered that tray. For some reason, it got me thinking about my dad. In a good way for once. That moment was the very first time I actually missed him and I found myself shedding a tear.
Of course, based on how many years it takes the team to win a pennant, that may be the last time I feel nostalgic about my father.
But I'm sure he'll be on my mind during the World Series and for a change it won't be because he has said something unpleasant to me. It'll be nice to have a happy memory about him.