People You Should Know in Chicago

Scott Podsednik

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Scott Podsednik: I grew up in a small town called West, it’s was about 85 miles south of Dallas, so it wasn’t much more to do other than play sports, hunt, fish, so that’s what I did with most of my time. When I was younger I played the infield. I played shortstop but I was left-handed. So one, I recall right before I got to high school, my dad was coaching me in Summer ball and he said, “Son look, you’re not gonna play the infield once you get to high school. I’m gonna have to move you to the outfield,” and I wasn’t happy about it, I liked being closer to the action. But I was left-handed and I knew obviously, there are no left-handed infielders, so I went from playing shortstop pretty much when I was a kid til high school and then moved out to center field, and then started learning how to play the outfield. But I could run, my skill was my ability to run. I grew up running track, I think it kind of ran in the family. My mom’s brother ran collegiate track.

Once I got to the big leagues, I learned that, you know, I wasn’t gonna drive in a lot of runs, I wasn’t gonna hit a lot of home runs, I was gonna have to learn how to do the small things and learn how to steal bases, learn how to bunt. I think I ended up stealing 43 my rookie year and then the big year was ’04, I stole 70 bases for the Brewers. After that year, I got traded to the White Sox in 2005. With the personalities we had on that club, it just worked, you know, with Ozzie leading. He…we all know Ozzie, he kind of took the pressure off of us. He let us go out there to play our game and it just worked.

We win game one, we face Roger Clemens in game one of the World Series and I can’t recall the score of that game, but we win game one, we got momentum going into game two. Houston ends up scoring a run to tie the game, it was either the eighth or it might have been the top of ninth. I’m hitting … I’m due up second in the bottom on the ninth. I’m 0 for 4 going into that at bat, so I get ahead in the count, two balls, no strikes, and I’m wanting to swing 2-0, but I step out and I glace up, I look up and Ozzie is waving his finger (Scott waves his finger to motion ‘no’) like, “no, don’t even think about it. I want you taking a pitch.”

So, I step out, and I remember telling myself, I said, “look, there’s no way he’s gonna throw you that slider 2-1. He doesn’t wanna walk you. You look for that exact same pitch, dead red right there and let’s just put a good swing on it.” And the ball left his hand and it was another fast ball right there and I put as good as swing as I could put on it, and I didn’t miss it. So, Rod is about to round first base. I see Tim Raines throw one of his arms up and I glance out to right center field and saw the ball leave the ball park, and this feeling, emotion, came over me that I can’t sit here and describe to you.

There…I have never experienced anything like that. I knew I would never experience anything like that ever before or ever again—it was just mayhem. At that time, we were the second longest going franchise in baseball behind the Cubs without winning a World Series. Boston had won it in ’04, the year before so they broke their curse so now it was just us and the Cubs. So I figured, the only way it gets bigger is if I get to the World Series with the Cubs and hit a walk-off in game seven. (Scott laughs audibly) So the chances of that happening were just none so I thought, you know, that’s as big as it’s ever gonna get for you. It’s gonna be tough to top that, you’re never going to be able to top that.

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