The Rick Renteria Era Has Come To An End

In a somewhat shocking development, the White Sox announced this morning that they have parted ways with manager Rick Renteria.  The status of the rest of the coaching staff will be determined in conjunction with the new manager, though pitching coach Don Cooper is also expected to move on.  Renteria originally joined the White Sox following the 2015 season as bench coach and was named the team’s 40th manager, replacing Robin Ventura, following the 2016 season.

General Manager Rick Hahn said that the ideal candidate to replace Renteria will have recent post-season experience with a championship organization.  Interestingly enough, two such managers, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, will be coming off their year-long suspensions following the completion of the World Series.  Both are thought to be on the shortlist for the opening in Detroit, though I’d be surprised if Cora doesn’t end up back with the Red Sox.  One name not in the mix is former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was told by owner Jerry Reinsdorf that he would not be considered.

In some ways, this move reminds me of one made by another Reinsdorf team back in the summer of 1989.  After reaching the Eastern Conference finals and losing to the Pistons, the Bulls fired coach Doug Collins, saying that while he had gotten the team from point A to point B, he wasn’t the right man to get them to point C.  If this move turns out half as well for the White Sox, everyone involved will be ecstatic.

 

White Sox All Time Leaders – Through 2019

cws_logoWith baseball now officially on its way back after the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look back at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We finish things off today with the hometown Chicago White Sox.

I’ve seen the White Sox play 592 times at 13 different stadiums in 9 different cities, including every home playoff appearance in 2000, 2005, and 2008 except for Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Jermaine Dye 39
Jose Abreu 36

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 299
A.J. Pierzynski 231

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Alexei Ramirez 133
A.J. Pierzynski 104

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Alexei Ramirez 138
Jermaine Dye 107

Doubles

Name Total
Paul Konerko 57
Alexei Ramirez 49
A.J. Pierzynski 41

Triples Continue reading →

#4 – Robin Ventura

Name: Robin Ventura

Rank: 4

Position: 3B

Years With White Sox: 1989-1998

Robin Ventura joined the White Sox organization as the 10th overall pick in the 1988 draft.  He made his major league debut the following September, going 1-4 with an RBI in a 11-1 victory over the Orioles at Memorial Stadium.  He appeared in 16 games down the stretch, hitting only .178 while driving in 7 runs in 45 at bats.

A good spring in 1990 led to Ventura breaking camp with the White Sox.  He struggled, both on the field and at the plate, suffering through a horrendous 0-for-41 slump while committing 25 errors over the course of the season.  However, he did lead AL rookies with 150 games played and his 123 hits were the most by a White Sox rookie since Ozzie Guillen in 1985.  He finished the year with a .249 average, 5 home runs, and 54 RBIs.  He placed 7th in Rookie of the Year voting and was named to the Topps All Star Rookie team.

Ventura and the White Sox moved in to the new Comiskey Park in 1991, hoping to improve on the previous year’s growth.  He improved his fielding enough to earn his first Gold Glove award and led the league in putouts.  At the plate, he set a White Sox team record for RBIs by a third baseman, finishing with an even 100.  He upped his average to .284 and hit 23 home runs.  His work was enough to garner enough MVP votes to finish in 20th place.

1992 was another good year for Ventura.  He earned his first All Star nod, going 2-2 in the AL’s victory at Jack Murphy Stadium.  He finished the year with a .282 average, 16 home runs, and 93 RBIs.  He also snagged his second consecutive Gold Glove award.

Ventura continued his successful ways in 1993.  He collected his 500th hit in May and, on August 4, he entered the public consciousness with an event that would come to define his entire career.  While batting against the Rangers, Ventura was hit by a pitch thrown by Nolan Ryan and charged the mound.  Ryan, 20 years Ventura’s senior, placed him in a headlock and punched him several times, starting a bench-clearing brawl that was voted the best baseball brawl of all time by SportCenter.  Ventura saw his average drop to .262, but his OPS set a new career high.  His 94 RBIs made him the first AL third baseman with three consecutive 90-RBI seasons since Graig Nettles in the mid 70s.  During the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura hit .200, with just 1 home run and 5 RBIs across the six game series.  After the season, he was awarded his third consecutive Gold Glove award.

The strike in 1994 saw Ventura’s streak of 90 RBI seasons and Gold Gloves come to an end.  When baseball stopped in August, Ventura was hitting .282 with 18 home runs and 78 RBIs, while posting a new career high with an .832 OPS.

When play resumed in late April 1995, Ventura struggled out of the gate, committing ten errors in the first ten games.  As the White Sox started to tear down the team that had finished the previous two seasons on top of their division, trade rumors started to follow Ventura, though nothing came to fruition.  On September 4, he became the eighth player in history to hit two grand slams in one game, and the first since Frank Robinson in 1970.  He finished the year setting career highs with a .295 average, an .882 OPS, and 26 home runs while driving in 93 runs.

Ventura had the best year of his career to date in 1996.  He set White Sox team records in career home runs by a third baseman, with 142, and grand slams, with 9.  He set new career highs with 34 home runs, 105 RBIs, 2 triples, an OPS of .888, and a .974 fielding percentage at the hot corner.  He hit .287, while earning his fourth Gold Glove award.

1997 turned into a dismal year for Ventura and the White Sox.  During a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium, Ventura caught his foot in the mud while sliding into home plate and suffered a broken and dislocated right ankle.  Expected to miss the entire season, he returned on July 24, collecting the game-winning hit that night, and homered in his first at-bat the next night.  With the White Sox only 3.5 games behind the Indians in the standings, a healthy Ventura might have put them over the top.  A week later, the team threw in the towel in what eventually became to be known as the White Flag Trade, sending Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez, and Danny Darwin to the Giants for prospects.  “We didn’t realize Aug. 1 was the end of the season,” said an upset Ventura.  He finished the year appearing in 54 games, hitting .262 with 6 home runs and 26 RBIs.

As Ventura entered the last year of his contract in 1998, the White Sox made little attempt to sign him to an extension, with owner Jerry Reinsdorf claiming his skills were “deteriorating” after his injury the year before.  With more trade rumors following him throughout the season, he finished the year with a .263 average, 21 home runs, and 91 RBIs while earning his fifth Gold Glove award.  Following the season, he became a free agent, ending his White Sox playing career.

On October 6, 2011, Ventura returned to the White Sox as their 39th manager.  He resigned following the 2016 season, finishing with a career record of 375-435 for a winning percentage of .463.

For his career, Ventura ranks 6th in White Sox history with 39.4 WAR, 8th with 28.8 OWAR, 8th with 12.9 DWAR, 6th with 171 home runs, 8th with 741 RBIs, and 5th with 668 walks.

Ventura’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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#56 – Daryl Boston

bostonName: Daryl Boston

Rank: 56

Position: CF

Years With White Sox: 1984-1990

Daryl Boston was selected by the White Sox as the 7th pick in the 1st round of the 1981 draft.  He made his major league debut on May 13, 1984 in the White Sox 8-1 victory against the Rangers, going 3-5 with 2 RBIs and a stolen base while leading off and playing center field.  He ended up appearing in 35 games for a White Sox team that failed to follow up on their success of the previous year, hitting an anemic .169.

Boston split the 1985 season between Triple A Buffalo and Chicago, appearing in 95 games for the White Sox.  He managed to improve his average to .228 with the increased playing time.

1986 again saw Boston splitting time between Triple A and the big leagues.  On October 4th, he hit the 50th and final home run given up by Bert Blyleven during the season, setting the major league record.  He finished the year with 56 appearances, hitting .266 with 5 home runs.

Boston spent the majority of the 1987 season in Chicago, hitting .258 with 10 home runs in 337 at bats.  1988 was his first full season in the major leagues, but he struggled, hitting only .217 but setting a career high with 15 home runs.

Boston rebounded in 1989, raising his average to .252, but hitting only 5 home runs in 101 appearances.  1990 saw his White Sox career come to an end, appearing in 5 games and getting only one at bat before being placed on waivers towards the end of April and being selected by the Mets.

Boston rejoined the White Sox organization in 2001 as a roving minor league instructor.  In 2013, he became the first base coach for new manager Robin Ventura, a role he remains in to this day.

Boston’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

The Rick Renteria Era Has Begun

renteriaRick Renteria was officially named the 40th manager in White Sox history this morning, replacing Robin Ventura.  Renteria had spent the 2016 season as Ventura’s bench coach.  Many players sang Renteria’s praises, including Jose Abreu, Chris Sale, and Adam Eaton.  How many of them will still be on the roster when Renteria’s first squad takes the field next April remains to be seen.

Renteria will become only the second man to manage both the White Sox and the Cubs, following Johnny Evers, who led the Cubs in 1913 and 1921 and was the White Sox skipper in 1924.  Renteria spent one season leading the Cubs in 2014 before being replaced unceremoniously by Joe Maddon.

Changing Of The Guard

EP-701249829With the 2016 baseball season wrapping up today, the White Sox announced that they would hold a press conference Monday morning and speculation is they will announce that manager Robin Ventura will not return in 2017.  Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the team was willing to extend Ventura’s contract if he wanted to return, but Ventura refused to announce his intentions, preferring instead to wait until the season comes to an end.  In his five seasons as manager heading into today’s finale, Ventura has put up a 375-434 record, including 4 straight losing seasons following an epic September collapse in 2012 that cost the team a division title.

Former Cub manager and current White Sox bench coach Rick Renteria is expected to be named as Ventura’s replacement.  How much control he will have over his coaching staff and what direction the team will go next year are unknown at this point.  But, this move looks to be a step in the right direction.

#88 – Steve Lyons

stevelyons

Name: Steve Lyons

Rank: 88

Position: 3B/OF

Years With White Sox: 1986-1990

Steve Lyons was acquired by the White Sox at the end of June in 1986 in the deal that sent Tom Seaver to the Red Sox.  “I’ve liked him since he came into professional baseball,” GM Ken Harrelson said.  “The only reason we were able to get him is that Boston is in a divisional race.”  Lyons appeared in 42 games for the White Sox following the trade, starting 35 of them, and hit a disappointing .203 while finding his way into manager Jim Fregosi’s doghouse.

Lyons saw his average improve in 1987, though it didn’t necessarily add up to additional playing time.  Splitting time between Hawaii and Chicago, he appeared in only 76 games and saw a mere 193 at bats.

With an improved relationship with Fregosi in 1988, Lyons stepped in to become the regular third baseman after the Kenny Williams experiment came to an end in May.  While his offense was serviceable enough, he struggled defensively, finishing the year with 25 errors.  “It’s a huge embarrassment,” Lyons conceded.  “I’m just not doing the job. I hate to think that our pitchers are scared of me playing third base, but that would be a natural thought.”

1989 saw Lyons move primarily to second base.  The biggest moment of his season came at Yankee Stadium in June when a woman ran onto the field and accosted Lyons in the on-deck circle, giving him a big kiss.  He finished the year hitting .264 with a career high 50 RBI.

With the White Sox returning to contention in 1990, Lyons saw himself out of a starting job.  He clashed with new manager Jeff Torborg over his diminished playing time, due to the arrival of Robin Ventura at third base and the commitment to Scott Fletcher at second base.  He managed some late-inning duty at first base, until Frank Thomas joined the big league club in August.  In his new role, his average dropped to .192.  The most famous, or infamous, moment of his career came on July 16 against the Tigers, when, after sliding into first base for a bunt single, he lost track of where he was and dropped his pants to remove the dirt from his slide.  He quickly raised them back up, but the damage was done and a legend was born.

Despite his clashes with Torborg, Lyons managed to break camp with the White Sox in 1991, but lasted 4 games into the season, without getting in to any of them, before being released to make room for Charlie Hough, who was coming off the disabled list.  “I started seeing there wasn’t an opportunity for me to get on the field anywhere,” said Lyons.  “They had other guys to do the same kind of things that I was going to do.”

Lyons’ numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

White Sox All Time Leaders – Through 2015

cws_logoWith the return of Chicago baseball right around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams. We finish things off today with the hometown Chicago White Sox.

I’ve seen the White Sox play 472 times at 10 different stadiums in 6 different cities, including every home playoff appearance in 2000, 2005, and 2008 except for Game 1 of the 2005 World Series.

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Jermaine Dye 39
Alexei Ramirez 34

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 299
A.J. Pierzynski 231

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Alexei Ramirez 133
A.J. Pierzynski 104

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Alexei Ramirez 138
Jermaine Dye 107

Doubles

Name Total
Paul Konerko 57
Alexei Ramirez 49
A.J. Pierzynski 41

Triples Continue reading →

Happy Trails

larocheShocking developments out of Glendale today as Adam LaRoche walked out of White Sox camp and is expected to retire.  After telling team management and his teammates about his plans, they spent an hour trying to change his mind.  He is expected to take the next few days mulling over his decision before making things official.

LaRoche signed as a free agent on November 25, 2014, and was expected to provide some left handed power in the middle of the White Sox lineup in 2015.  To say things did not work out as planned would be a tremendous understatement.  His production fell off a cliff, finishing the year with a .207 batting average with only 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.  His second half was even worse, with a .231 OBP and a slugging percentage under .285.

He had appeared in only 2 games this spring while battling a back injury.  By walking away now, he leaves $13 million on the table, money the White Sox can use creatively should they find themselves in contention at the trade deadline.  Meanwhile, this should give Robin Ventura more flexibility while juggling Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton, Austin Jackson, and Avisail Garcia.

LaRoche’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

Continue reading →

Small Shakeup For 2016

EP-701249829The White Sox officially announced the disappointing, but not totally unexpected news that Robin Ventura will return as manager for 2016.  Bench coach Mark Parent has been let go, and has decided to skip the final 3 games of this season.  Assistant hitting coach Harold Baines has decided to transition into a team ambassador role.  The rest of the coaching staff is expected to return in their current roles.

Given the disappointment that was this season, one would have expected heads to roll.  But Jerry Reinsdorf never follows expectations, and he has his favorites.  Ventura will be given another chance, but I don’t see him surviving a fourth straight losing season.