CHICAGO — On the anniversary of the greatest moment in White Sox history and his own, Bobby Jenks has received a new job in Chicago.
The Windy City Thunderbolts, a Crestwood-based team that plays in the independent Frontier League, announced that the former closer has been named their manager starting with the 2024 season.
It comes 18 years to the day that Jenks had the save in a 1-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series. That gave the White Sox their first championship since 1917, ending an 88-year drought, and is their most recent title.
Jenks comes to the Thunderbolts after a two-year run with the Grand Junction Rockies (now Jackalopes) of the Pioneer League. After starting with the team as a pitching coach in 2021, he was named the manager in 2022 and led them to the Pioneer League championship.
For his efforts, Jenks was named the Manager of the Year in the league. Before that, he’d worked as a roving pitching instructor in the White Sox organization.
“Putting aside his popularity on the South Side of Chicago, in three short years coaching, Bobby has shown to be a great mentor both on and off the field,” said general manager Mike VerSchave in a statement released by the team. “His experience pitching at the highest level, in the highest pressure situations will be invaluable in molding our pitching staff.
“His title run in the Pioneer League shows his ability to put together a competitive team as well as run a fantastic clubhouse that will serve him well in our league.”
Claimed off waivers by the White Sox in December 2004, Jenks would enjoy a six-year run in Chicago in which he was twice named an All-Star (2006, 2007) while saving 173 games. Most remember him for his performance in the 2005 MLB Playoffs when he saved four games – two in the American League Division Series against the Red Sox and two in the World Series against the Astros.
On October 26, 2005, Jenks pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve a one-run White Sox fall classic-clinching win. With two outs, he got Houston’s Orlando Palmeiro to ground out to shortstop Juan Uribe, who threw to Paul Konerko just in time for the final out of the game.
The picture of a jubilant Jenks leaping off the mound is one of the most famous in the 123-year history of White Sox baseball.
Jenks was also on the mound when the White Sox won their iconic AL Central tiebreaker game – better known as the “Blackout Game” – at then US Cellular Field on September 30, 2008 against the Twins. He pitched a perfect ninth inning, with Brian Anderson making a diving catch in center field on a hit by Minnesota’s Alexi Casilla to seal the division-clinching save.