The Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday that former gold glove winner and All-Star third baseman Robin Ventura has rejoined the team as a special advisor to Director of Player Development, Buddy Bell. Ventura will visit each of the White Sox minor-league affiliates throughout the summer, evaluating player performance and reporting to Bell.
I grew up a Mets fan, so I was around for Ventura’s post-White Sox days, but I absolutely loved him. My fondest memory of Ventura is his walk-off single against the Atlanta Braves in the ’99 NLCS (video includes a rare Rey Ordonez sighting). The Mets lost the series, but that wasn’t what made it memorable – it was the fact that he actually hit a grand slam, but was mobbed before he hit second base – so only the first run to score counted.
Ventura played with the White Sox from 1989 to 1998 and one of his other famous moments came in 1993 when he charged Nolan Ryan and quickly found himself being pummeled in a headlock.
Ventura’s six gold gloves and 18 grand slams (not counting the ’99 NLCS) won’t do him much good in his new role, but it’s nice to see the former first-round draft pick return to the organization he grew up in.