History has rarely been kind to rookie Chicago White Sox managers like Grifol. There have been 25 men before Grifol who have taken the position of full-time White Sox manager without any previous major league managing experience.
None of them won a World Series though one (Kid Gleason in 1919) saw eight of his players take bribes to lose one.
So blame it on The Kid and his eight men out if the latest rookie Sox manager doesn't win a World Series in his maiden season. Before Gleason and his nefarious bunch, most rookie White Sox managers did quite well.
The Chicago White Sox haven't had much success with rookie managers.
Clark Griffith won the pennant in 1901 but some rookie had to do it since it was the American League's first season.
Fielder Jones went 66-47 his rookie year in 1904 and won a World Series two years later over the Chicago Cubs. Pants Rowland had a similar experience going 93-61 and finishing third his rookie year (1915) and winning the World Series in 1917 over the New York Giants.
Over the last 100-plus years, though, no rookie White Sox manager has come close to winning a championship of any kind in his debut season. Ozzie Guillen, however, nearly beat The Kid's Curse by winning the 2005 World Series over the Houston Astros in his second year.
The 53-year-old Grifol, though, doesn't have the luxury of a mediocre, getting-to-know-you season. If he goes 83-79 in his first year like Guillen in 2004 he might not get a second year.
Grifol's White Sox are clearly in the win-now phase of a lengthy rebuild and the rookie manager is expected to lead the way to the promised land.
White Sox rookies Don Gutteridge in 1969 (60-85), Larry Doby in 1978 (37-50), Don Kessinger in 1979 (46-60), and even Tony La Russa in 1979 (27-27) or 1980 (70-90) didn't have nearly the pressure or expectations that will greet Grifol each day he comes to work this year.
All of the numerous rookie White Sox managers in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s (such as Ray Schalk, Ted Lyons, Jimmy Dykes, and Lew Fonseca) also had little pressure to win.
The goal during those three sleepy White Sox decades was simply selling enough tickets and hot dogs to meet payroll and not necessarily to compete with the New York Yankees.
In fairness to all of the unfortunate rookie White Sox managers of the past, we must point out that the White Sox's track record of hiring experienced managers also is a bit suspect.
It didn't even help all that much when some of that experience came on the south side of Chicago. See the return of Al Lopez in 1968 and 1969, Paul Richards in 1976 and La Russa in the last two years.
A look back, in no particular order, at the five most memorable seasons for a rookie White Sox manager since the invention of television: