Guillen back with White Sox as manager
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen is back with the Chicago White Sox, this time as the team's manager.
Guillen, a three-time All-Star shortstop, was hired Monday to replace Jerry Manuel, who was fired Sept. 29 after the White Sox failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year.
Hiring Ozzie Guillen was a great move for the Chicago White Sox. In baseball, there are a couple of key positions that allow players to develop into good managers -- catchers and shortstops are at the top of that list. Although they're not calling the pitches, shortstops are in charge of defensive positioning and alerting teammates of the pitch called and how to shift accordingly. There's a lot involved in becoming a three-time All Star shortstop and Guillen will bring that knowledge to the managerial position. Being the third-base coach for the World Series-winning Florida Marlins certainly garnered Guillen additional attention, but he's just one of those guys who makes a good impression no matter where he goes. And he's been a part of the White Sox organization for so long. Heck, I remember playing against him in the minor leagues. So, he not only has roots within the organization, but within the community as well. More than anything, Guillen will bring a ton of enthusiasm to a ball club that last year, didn't look as if they were having much fun. Guillen has a great attitude and certainly knows how to lighten things up.
Guillen has no managerial experience and has spent the past two seasons as the third-base coach for the Florida Marlins. But he made it clear how badly he wanted this job, and his passion won over general manager Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
"I am excited and thrilled to be returning to Chicago to manage the White Sox," Guillen said. "I have always been a White Sox at heart, no matter where baseball has taken me, and this is the job I always wanted."
Former Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was thought to be the initial favorite for the job. Williams played for him, and he led the Blue Jays to World Series titles in 1992 and '93.
But in the end, the White Sox went with one of their own.
Guillen spent all but three years of his 16-year career on the South Side. Originally signed by San Diego, the three-time All-Star shortstop 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 RBI and set a White Sox record for shortstops with just 12 errors.
"I wore this uniform 13 years," Guillen said. "My heart always was here."
After he retired, he joined Montreal's coaching staff. He's spent the past two seasons as the Marlins' third-base coach.
"Twenty-three years in baseball have helped prepare me for this day," Guillen said. "I can't thank [manager] Jack McKeon and the Florida Marlins enough for the opportunity to coach third base and be part of a very special World-Series winning season."
Guillen takes over a team that fell way short of expectations. The White Sox were the favorites to win the AL Central in 2003 after adding pitchers Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch to a lineup that already included sluggers Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez.
Manuel appeared to have saved his job when the White Sox played well immediately after the All-Star break. Chicago, however, was just 25-28 since Aug. 2 and Manuel was fired the day after the season ended.
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.
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