Jenks 'fortunate' to have played in big leagues

Ranks second in White Sox history with 173 saves

Jenks 'fortunate' to have played in big leagues

CHICAGO -- Bobby Jenks now has a bobblehead, given away by the White Sox to fans attending Saturday's Fourth of July contest against the Orioles at U.S Cellular Field.

He has a lifetime of memories from seven seasons pitching in the Major Leagues, including the greatest moment of closing out the 2005 World Series championship for the White Sox. But at 34 years old, Jenks' baseball days are behind him.

This point was assumed with the one-time top-notch closer having not pitched since 2011 for the Red Sox and after undergoing three back surgeries, including spinal fusion in 2013. But Jenks made that point official while talking to the media on the field Saturday.

"Health-wise, I'm going to be able to live a normal life," Jenks said. "I can go play golf here soon and just be with the kids and be an everyday citizen, but as far as baseball goes, I did almost a year and a half of rehab, full strength top to bottom, did the whole throwing program and it's just not going to happen.

"I gave it a run, but it's just too much pain off the mound. I can play catch again, I can play with the kids, throw the football around on the beach, do all those things that you want to do to live your life. But getting on a mound again, that ship has sailed."

Jenks ranks second all-time in franchise history with 173 saves, trailing only current bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen's total of 201. He saved 41 in 2006 and 40 in 2007, but his arrival in 2005 will never be forgotten by White Sox fans.

One of his first big league pitches hit 100 mph on the radar gun and drew collective gasps from the crowd. Fast forward to the end of that '05 season when Jenks' hands were raised in celebration after pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro's ground out to Juan Uribe ended the White Sox four-game World Series sweep of the Astros.

That 10-year championship anniversary will be celebrated in Chicago on the weekend of July 17-19, with Jenks scheduled to attend.

"Same thing now as it was then. It just went by in such a flash," said Jenks of his memories of the title as a rookie. "It was so amazing, not just that it was your rookie year, but to be part of a team that goes to a World Series and not only goes but wins. It's incredible. That's the only word for it.

"It's not just the World Series, but being fortunate to be a baseball player in general. Although my career was short and ended not the way I wanted to because of injury, but, all in all, I was very fortunate, very blessed to be able to put on a Major League uniform. To still have the opportunity to come back and have my own bobblehead day after the fact is still pretty special."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.