The White Sox welcomed a sold-out crowd at SoxFest 2015 on January 23-25, signing more than 16,000 autographs and posing for nearly 3,500 photos with fans. Held at the Hilton Chicago, members of the 2005 World Series team, current players and White Sox greats brought a combination of celebration, excitement and anticipation to the annual fan gathering.
"The entire White Sox family - our new, current and former players, our front office, Sox legends and most importantly, our loyal fans - made the 23rd year of SoxFest an incredible success," said Scott Reifert, White Sox senior vice president. "We want to thank our fans for not only coming out to join us this weekend, but also for helping us raise $95,000 at the Garage Sale to support Chicago White Sox Charities, doubling our total raised last year. The interest and energy from this weekend's sell-out crowd at SoxFest tell us that White Sox fans are just as excited as we are to get the 2015 season underway."
SoxFest officially kicked off a year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of the World Series Championship. Throughout the weekend, fans were treated to behind-the-scenes stories, favorite moments and memories during special seminars featuring Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Executive Vice President Ken Williams along with members of the 2005 team, including:
In a late, but great addition to the SoxFest schedule, legendary homerun hitter Jim Thome attended on Sunday, January 25, for a special autograph and photo session to add to the World Series celebration.
Several current players talked White Sox baseball, answered fan questions, signed autographs and took photos, including:
In addition, several members of the front office and coaching staff attended SoxFest, including: General Manager Rick Hahn, Manager Robin Ventura, Pitching Coach Don Cooper, Hitting Coach Todd Steverson and Assistant Hitting Coach Harold Baines. White Sox greats Bo Jackson, Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Bill Melton, Minnie Minoso and Billy Pierce also participated in activities all weekend.
On Friday, SoxFest began with an electrifying Opening Ceremony that incorporated a massive video display featuring highlights of players as they were introduced. In addition, colorful video during the ceremony helped fans walk down memory lane showcasing moments that led to that incredible 2005 World Series victory. Players and greats were escorted by representatives from the White Sox Youth Initiative program, which provides jerseys and caps to all participants in nine Chicago-area little league programs.
In a serious moment during the weekend festivities, the White Sox organization remembered the baseball great Ernie Banks. After learning about Banks' passing, a moment of silence was held during the first seminar with Hahn and Ventura. Later in the day, Reinsdorf and Sox Broadcaster Steve Stone also spoke fondly about Banks, paying respect to the incredible mark that Banks made on Chicago baseball.
Throughout the weekend, SoxFest guests enjoyed exciting activities in the Interactive Area with videogaming stations, hitting and pitching clinics at the Bulls/Sox Academy Little Sluggers Field, live entertainment stage and the #SoxSocial Lounge. At the #SoxSocial Lounge, fans welcomed unscheduled appearances from their favorite White Sox players. Adam Eaton shocked fans waiting in line for autographs from Tyler Flowers and Conor Gillaspie, interviewing waiting guests and asking Flowers and Gillaspie to sign his own jersey. In another fun #SoxSocial moment, new White Sox pitcher David Robertson surprised a young fan who was shopping at SoxFest by buying him the jersey of new teammate Jeff Samardzija. In return, the young SoxFest guest promised the next jersey that he would buy would be a Robertson jersey. This video and many more from SoxFest are available on whitesox.com.