These 13 Chicago White Sox rookie managers won on Opening Day

Jerry Manuel (left) is the last Chicago White Sox manager to start his career with an Opening Day victory.
Jerry Manuel (left) is the last Chicago White Sox manager to start his career with an Opening Day victory. / Eric Espada/GettyImages
1 of 14

Opening Day, for the most part, has welcomed Chicago White Sox rookie managers with open arms.

Pedro Grifol will be the 22nd manager in White Sox history to debut on Opening Day when he takes on the Houston Astros on March 30.

The first 21 compiled a sparkling record of 13-8, a .619 winning percentage that would likely put Grifol's White Sox on top of the American League Central at the end of the season.

Recent history, though, hasn't been kind to White Sox managers debuting on Opening Day. Five of the last eight (Bob Lemon in 1977, Don Kessinger in 1979, Ozzie Guillen in 2004, Robin Ventura in 2012 and Rick Renteria in 2017) all lost on Opening Day. Kessinger was even fired before the end of his first year and was replaced by Tony La Russa.

The 53-year-old Grifol, therefore, has a chance to become the first White Sox manager to debut with a victory on Opening Day since Jerry Manuel in 1998.

The White Sox are a team looking for some success on Opening Day.

Manuel, Jeff Torborg (1989), and Gene Lamont are the only rookie Sox managers to debut with an Opening Day victory since the American League was separated into divisions in 1969.

Just three White Sox first-year managers have debuted with 90 or more victories. Bob Lemon (1977) and Al Lopez (1957) each won 90 games while Pants Rowland won 93 in 1915. None of them, however, finished first.

Lopez's Sox finished second, eight games behind the New York Yankees (they were 8-14 against the Yankees). Rowland and Lemon each finished third in their debut seasons, though Lemon's Southside Hitmen are one of the most beloved Sox teams in history.

Clark Griffith was 83-53 in 1901 in the American League's inaugural season as a recognized major league (the first World Series wasn't played until 1903). Kid Gleason was 88-52 and took the White Sox to the 1919 World Series where eight of his players conspired with gamblers to throw the Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

Griffith and Gleason are still the only two rookie managers in White Sox history to take a team from Opening Day to first place by the end of the year.

A look at the 13 successful Opening Days for a White Sox rookie manager: