Sportress of Blogitude

Watch: White Sox groundskeeper wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years receives World Series watch

Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Nevest Coleman on Wednesday was presented with a watch commemorating the team’s 2005 World Series victory. The reason why it took Coleman so long to receive the keepsake is what makes his story so compelling, and for over two decades, tragic.

Coleman was wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years after being convicted of raping and murdering of a 20-year-old woman in 1994. Coleman and an alleged accomplice proclaimed their innocence — arguing in part that their confessions were coerced by detectives — while serving life sentences.

In 2017, new DNA evidence surfaced linking the crime to a serial rapist. A retrial was ordered last November and prosecutors ultimately elected to drop all charges. Both men were released from prison on Nov. 20, 2017.

Coleman, along with family members, were at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday afternoon for a ceremony before the night’s game against the New York Yankees. At it, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf presented Coleman with the World Series watch, which all grounds crew members received to commemorate the championship.

“You should have been with us in 2005 when we won the World Series, but you were someplace else,” Reinsdorf said during the ceremony, via ABC7. “Had you been here, there’s something that you would have gotten as a member of the grounds crew, so I want to give you that something right now. I don’t want you to be cheated. That’s something you should have had, so now you have it.”

And one of the most inspiring aspects of Coleman’s story of redemption up to and including Wednesday’s ceremony? Coleman returned to his job as a groundskeeper for the White Sox organization upon his exoneration.

(to read more about Coleman’s wrongful imprisonment and ultimate exoneration, read his story on the Innocence Project)