Name: Ozzie Guillen
Years With White Sox: 1985-1997
Acquired by the White Sox, along with Tim Lollar, Bill Long, and Luis Salazar, on December 6, 1984 from the Padres for Kevin Kristan, Todd Simmons, and LaMarr Hoyt, Ozzie Guillen made his major league debut on Opening Day 1985, leading off against the Brewers and going 1-5 in the 4-2 victory at County Stadium. Settling in as the everyday shortstop, Guillen finished the year with a .273 average, 21 doubles, and 9 triples. Those totals were good enough to score Guillen the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year trophy.
Guillen saw a slight drop off in his sophomore season. His average dropped to .250 and he managed 19 doubles and 4 triples. Defensively, he led the American League in Defensive WAR.
1987 was a nice bounce back for Guillen. He raised his average back up to .279 with a .656 OPS. For the second straight year, he led the AL, and all of baseball, in Defensive WAR.
Guillen earned his first All Star nod in 1988, though he didn’t get in to the game. By the end of the season, he once again led all of baseball in Defensive WAR, while seeing his average drop to .261 with 7 triples, the fifth highest total in the AL.
1989 was a tough year for Guillen. He posted his worst offensive numbers since 1986 and, on the base paths, he fell victim to the hidden ball trick. Twice. On June 23, against the Brewers, first baseman Greg Brock held the ball after a pickoff attempt and when Guillen took his hand off the base to stand up, Brock tagged him out. Less than 2 months later, on August 5 against the Tigers, Dave Bergman made the same play. He finished the year with .253 average and, despite his adventures on pick off attempts, a career high 36 stolen bases.
As the surprising White Sox challenged for the AL West title while saying goodbye to Comiskey Park, Guillen put in one of the finest seasons of his career. He was named to his second All Star team, going 0-2, finished in 17th place in MVP voting, and earned his first, and only, Gold Glove. He raised his average back up to .279 and knocked in a career high 58 RBIs.
Expectations were high for the White Sox as they moved across the street to the new Comiskey Park in 1991. Guillen earned his third, and final, All Star nod, getting a sacrifice in his only plate appearance. He ended the year with a .273 average and set a career high with 3 home runs.
Guillen’s 1992 season came to an early end when, on April 21 during a loss against the Yankees, a collision with outfielder Tim Raines ended in a severe knee injury. Appearing in only 20 games, he hit a career low .200 in only 40 at bats.
Guillen recovered in 1993, though he appeared in only 134 games, his lowest total to date. However, it was his most productive season offensively, posting a .280 batting average, and career highs with 4 home runs and a .666 OPS, as the White Sox won their first division title in a decade. He hit .273 and scored 4 runs in a losing effort, as the White Sox were defeated in 6 games by the Blue Jays in the ALCS.
1994 looked to be the year that the White Sox finally broke through. Guillen was up to the challenge, hitting a career high .288 with a .659 OPS. Unfortunately, the year ended early when players went on strike on August 12 with the White Sox in first place in the newly created AL Central.
The 1995 season got off to a late start and had an abbreviated schedule due to the long work stoppage. The success of the White Sox, and for Guillen himself, didn’t survive the long layoff. Guillen saw his average drop to .248, his lowest over a “full” season in his career to this point. His OPS dropped to its lowest total, excepting 1992, since 1989.
1996 saw a slight improvement for Guillen. He appeared in 150 games, his highest total since his knee injury in 1992. He raised his average back to .263 and tied his career high with 4 home runs.
1997 was easily the worst season of Guillen’s White Sox career. He had the lowest average of his career, coming in at .245, though he did once again tie his career high with 4 home runs. Following the season, Guillen became a free agent and his playing career with the White Sox came to an end.
Guillen returned to the White Sox organization for the 2004 season as manager. In 2005, he led the team to their first American League pennant since 1959 and their first World Series title in 88 years. Ongoing personal difficulties with General Manager Kenny Williams led to his leaving with 2 games left in the 2011 season as the third winningest manager in franchise history.
Guillen’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:
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