Guillen back with White Sox as manager
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen was certain he was the right person to be the new manager of the Chicago White Sox, regardless of what his resume did or didn't say.
Two hours into his first interview, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams agreed.
"The passion, the commitment, the energy, the game knowledge, the aggressive attitude," Williams said Monday in introducing Guillen as manager of the team where he spent 13 years of his 16-year career.
"He bleeds White Sox baseball. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to provide something here we desperately need. A jolt, if you will."
When Williams fired Jerry Manuel on Sept. 29 in the wake of the White Sox's colossal meltdown, he was certain he wanted a manager with experience. Someone who'd been to the postseason, maybe even the World Series.
Former Toronto manager Cito Gaston was believed to be an early favorite, and Williams said he talked to Tom Kelly and Jim Leyland to see if either had interest in getting back into baseball.
But then came Guillen. He just retired in 2000, and his only experience was as a coach, the last two years as third base coach for the World Series champion Florida Marlins.
Williams set aside four hours for their interview, never thinking he would need more than that.
"By the time that second hour hit," Williams said, "I was convinced he was the guy."
Though Williams' mind was already made up, he brought Guillen back for a second interview. He offered him the job Sunday night, and Guillen signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year Monday.
"It's an honor for me," Guillen said. "It took me a little while to get back and wear this uniform. Hopefully it'll be the last uniform I ever wear."
Guillen's passion for the White Sox is undeniable. The former All-Star shortstop never stopped smiling Monday. And when he walked out the door to catch a plane back to Florida, he was still wearing his new White Sox cap.
But his honesty impressed Williams, too. Thirty seconds after he walked in the door, Guillen told Williams he wasn't going to try to impress him or tell Williams what he thought the GM wanted to hear.
He was going to be Guillen, take it or leave it.
"I believe managers are hired to get fired. But if I'm going to get fired, it's going to be my way," Guillen said. "Every player who wears this uniform is going to play the game right. If they don't play the game right, they're not going to play for me."
That goes for everyone on the roster, Guillen said.
Even Frank Thomas, a teammate when Guillen played for the White Sox.
"I don't want selfish players," Guillen said. "Give me players that want to win. Don't give me good players that don't care. Give me a good kid who wants to bust his tail for us. Don't give me some guy that just wants to make $20, $30 million next year.
"We're going to have fun," Guillen added. "But fun is winning and winning is fun. I believe have fun first and then you win. Then you have more fun in the clubhouse."
Free agent catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. said he thinks Guillen is a good fit.
"It's a great opportunity for him, a guy that grew up in this organization," said Alomar, who has spent the last three seasons with the White Sox. "I think it'll be a good challenge. I think it'll be very exciting.
"I came up with Ozzie in San Diego," he said. "You can see the desire he has for the game. He always was the same guy, in good times and in bad. You always saw him hustle."
Originally signed by San Diego, Guillen was traded to the White Sox in December 1984. He made his major league debut the next season and was voted AL Rookie of the Year. He hit .273 with one homer and 33 RBIss that year, and set a White Sox record for shortstops with just 12 errors.
He also played in Baltimore, Atlanta and Tampa Bay before retiring in 2000. A three-time All-Star, he appeared in 1,993 games and was a career .264 hitter with 619 RBIss.
When he retired, he joined Montreal's coaching staff. He then spent two seasons with the Marlins.
"I've got the game in my blood," Guillen said. "I've wanted to be a manager since I was a little kid."
It showed in Florida. Guillen was often one of the first to arrive in the Marlins' clubhouse, and would spend at least an hour hitting ground balls to his kids.
He was popular in the clubhouse, especially among Latin players. Outfielder Miguel Cabrera -- like Guillen, a Venezuelan -- idolized the coach growing up, and was thrilled to be able to work with him in Florida. He and catcher Ivan Rodriguez became close friends.
"He brings a vibrance and an excitement that not many coaches do," Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano said. "He's going to be a great manager."
Guillen certainly hopes so. This is the one job he's always wanted, and he hopes to have it a long, long time.
"The hardest thing to do is come here as a manager," Guillen said. "Because I don't want to let anyone down."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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