We take a painful look back at Scott Podsednik’s home run against the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Houston Astros first World Series appearance in 2005. One of the most gutwrenching things that can happen to a team is having a most unlikely opposing player hit a deciding home run in a key game. Just ask the Red Sox, who still refer to former Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent as “Bucky Bleeping Dent.”
Dent, the Yankees’ No. 9 hitter who managed only 40 career homers, hit a three-run blast in a division tiebreaker game in 1978 against Boston that helped New York to a 5-4 win. Boston also has “Aaron Bleeping Boone” thanks to Boone’s walk-off shot to beat the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS.
There were a number of moments in that 2005 World Series that could very well have turned the series around if they’d went a different way. One of those moments is when Scott Podsednik became Houston’s own version of Dent and Boone, hitting a walk-off home run off Brad Lidge to give the White Sox the win in Game Two.
Setting the Stage
Chicago won Game One 5-3 after Roger Clemens allowed three runs in just two innings, leaving early thanks to a sore hamstring. In Game Two, Morgan Ensberg opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second, and the Astros retook the lead on a Lance Berkman double in the fifth.
Andy Pettitte was solid, allowing two runs in six innings. But the usually reliable Dan Wheeler loaded the bases in the seventh before being pulled for Chad Qualls, who immediately coughed up a grand slam to slugger Paul Konerko. Amazingly, that wasn’t the nail in the Astros coffin that night.
Houston rallied to tie the game against closer Bobby Jenks in the ninth. Jeff Bagwell led it off with a single and Chris Burke walked, then both runners advanced on a Brad Ausmus groundout. Down to their final out, Jose Vizcaino singled to left to score both runners, seemingly giving the team new life. I’ll never forget that moment when Vizcaino came through in the clutch.
But that new life would be short lived. Lidge, who perhaps hadn’t recovered from the mammoth home run he allowed to Albert Pujols in the NLCS, came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. On a 2-1 count to Podsednik with one out, Lidge grooved a fastball right down the middle and it was history.
Scott Bleeping Podsednik
Now I’m not knocking Podsednik. He was an excellent player for a number of years and had, in fact, made the All-Star team that season. But, like Dent, he wasn’t a power hitter. In 568 plate appearances in the 2005 regular season, he hit a grand total of ZERO home runs. ZERO!
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Konerko’s grand slam was a back breaker, but of all the people in that lineup, he’s one of the most likely players to do that. He’d hit 40 homers for the second consecutive season and finished his career with 439. Podsednik hit 42 home runs for his entire career, spanning 11 seasons.
It hurt even more because if the game had gone to the 10th, the Astros had the heart of the order in Willy Taveras, Berkman and Ensberg due up. A win in Chicago was necessary if the team was going to win the series, and this was their best shot at it. It would’ve given them some momentum heading back to Houston.
But instead, the Astros were forced to make their last best stand in Game Three, and that one was a heartbreaker too. So I say we Houston fans, like Boston fans with Dent, should forever refer to Podsednik as “Scott Bleeping Podsednik.” Think of it as a mark of grudging respect for a guy who unexpectedly stepped up in the game’s biggest moment.