General manager Kenny Williams continued the trend of hiring former White Sox players to manage the big league club on Wednesday as the team announced the hiring of former third baseman Robin Ventura as the team’s 39th manager.
The 44-year-old Ventura is the 17th former player to head the club.
Ventura was hired by the White Sox as a special advisor to director of player development Buddy Bell on June 6 of this year. Click here to read all about that – this way I don’t have to gush about his grand slam single with the Mets in ’99 or his brawl with Nolan Ryan.
Ventura spent 16 major-league seasons with the White Sox (1989-98), New York Mets (1999-2001), New York Yankees (2002-03) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2003-200). He won six Gold Gloves (1991-93, 1996, 1998-99) and was a two-time All-Star (1992 and 2002).
He was a defensive whiz and can have an immediate impact on Brent Morel‘s development at third base. Just yesterday I said Morel has gold gloves in his future. That prediction is looking better and better every day.
As far as managing the big league club goes, we’ll see if Ventura is up to the job. He’ll definitely bring an intensity that was lacking the last couple years of Ozzie’s regime, and even though he’s young, it’s not like the veterans on the club are the type to cause trouble for him.
In 2,079 career games, Ventura hit .267 with 294 home runs and 1,182 RBI. His 18 career grand slams are tied for fifth in major-league history.
Ventura appeared in 1,254 games over 10 seasons with the Sox, hitting .274 with 171 home runs and 741 RBI. He ranks among the White Sox all-time leaders in grand slams (T1st, 10), walks (5th, 668), home runs (6th), RBI (8th), extra-base hits (10th, 402) and runs scored (12th, 658).
When I would practice switch-hitting as a young lad, Ventura’s swing was the one I emulated.
It’s a risky decision by Williams – even a puzzling one not to go for one of the bigger fish (FRANCONA!)…but I’m excited to see how it turns out.