The Chicago White Sox have hosted the All-Star Game four times, including the inaugural contest in 1933, but 2003 marked the first time at U.S. Cellular Field. Magglio Ordonez (left), Carl Everett (right), and Esteban Loaiza represented the Chicago White Sox in the game. For the first time ever, home-field advantage in the World Series was awarded to the winning league. Loaiza started the game for the AL, which won a 7-6 thriller on Hank Blalock's late home run.
On January 31,U.S. Cellular and the Chicago White Sox sign a 23-year, $68-million naming rights agreement as the former Comiskey Park, opened in 1991, becomes U.S. Cellular Field. Revenue from the agreement will allow the Chicago White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority undertake significant structural renovations to the ballpark in time for Opening Day 2005.
The Ozzie Guillen era began with a bang and ended a little more quietly, as the Chicago White Sox finished above .500 once again but also failed to make the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.
Guillen dealt with season-ending injuries to Frank Thomas' left ankle and Magglio Ordonez's left knee, while pitchers Scott Schoeneweis and Cliff Politte, outfielder/designated hitter Carl Everett and second baseman Roberto Alomar also missed significant time due to injuries.
But there were plenty of upbeat moments. Paul Konerko set career highs with 41 home runs and 117 RBIs, taking over in the middle of the lineup, while Mark Buehrle produced another solid 16-victory season. Shingo Takatsu saved 19 games in 20 chances as the team's first Far Eastern import, while Juan Uribe also emerged as a viable everyday contributor as a middle infielder, after being acquired from Colorado.
The goal for the Chicago White Sox in 2005 is a team based more on defense, speed and pitching, a move made more likely by the in-season pick-ups of right-handers Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras, coupled with the requisite power and Guillen's unabashed energy.