A native of Oak Lawn, Ill., just outside of Chicago, the Houston Astros' general manager grew up a die-hard White Sox fan, a passion he learned from his father, Jim.
And now, ironically enough, the White Sox are in the World Series for the first time since 1959. And Purpura knows how he feels -- he feels like he wants them to lose.
Never could he have imagined, as a kid sitting in the bleachers in old Comiskey Park, that his White Sox would play in a World Series decades later, and that he would be the GM of the other team playing in the Fall Classic.
"It's kind of surreal," Purpura said. "I remember in 1983, when they made the playoffs, I had just moved to California, and I was bummed that I wasn't [in Chicago]. My dad went to the '59 Series and gave me the game program. I have it somewhere; I'm going to try to find it before we leave tomorrow."
The Purpura clan was a big one, consisting of five kids, two parents and lots of passion for baseball. The family made several treks every year to Comiskey, and the memories are as vivid to Purpura now as they were when he was a kid.
"We'd pack a picnic lunch and jugs of lemonade, back in the day when you could do those kinds of things," he said. "We'd sit in the bleachers for a doubleheader. I remember watching Wilber Wood throw both ends of a doubleheader."
When the Astros won Game 6 of the NLCS to clinch the club's first World Series berth, Purpura thought of his dad, who passed away 14 years ago.
He jokingly wondered if his dad was up in heaven, deciding who to root for: his beloved White Sox, or the team run by his son?
"I have a pretty good idea he's pulling for us," Purpura said.
As will the extended family. Purpura has spoken with several uncles, all of whom still live in the Chicago area. Game 2 of the World Series on Sunday will be a family affair, filled with tons of relatives whose loyalties changed quickly, right around the time Purpura was named GM of the Astros last November.
"There will be a big section of Purpuras cheering for the Astros," Purpura said.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less