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The Chicago White Sox have appointed Pedro Grifol to serve as their manager, replacing Tony La Russa who announced his retirement earlier this month.
This search was one of the most thorough in franchise history. It began after owner Jerry Reinsdorf ordered Rick Renteria out despite an already short 2020 season.
Pedro Grifol, a Cuban American born in Miami, played college baseball for Florida State University before going on to coach minor league baseball for several organizations including the Kansas City Royals.
On April 8th, Grifol was named manager of the Chicago White Sox after Tony La Russa retired. This marked his first tenure as manager without any previous connection to the team in 30 years.
Grifol has no managerial experience, but he is an experienced coach who spent the past 10 seasons as the bench coach for the Kansas City Royals. Under his guidance, they won both the World Series in 2015 and American League pennant in 2014.
Grifol has been involved with many aspects of the organization over the years, and he plans to use that expertise to assist the White Sox reach their objectives this season. He anticipates having frequent contact with his players and hopes to create a strong bond with them.
Since Tony La Russa retired, the White Sox have been searching for someone to replace him as manager. General manager Rick Hahn noted that communication was key during their search and believes Grifol has what it takes to lead them back into the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
When asked his opinion of the team he will manage, Grifol replied that he "knows them from their history in the American League Central. Their talent is unbeatable, but it's their attitude and energy that I find most important."
In his new role, he seeks to restore the confidence that was lost during the disappointing 2022 season. Furthermore, he wishes to help the team improve upon its fundamentals.
Grifol had a dream to become a major-league manager since he was young; that is why he has worked so hard to achieve that goal. His wife and three daughters support him in his endeavors as well. A great family man, Grifol is passionate about seeing his children succeed in life.
The Chicago White Sox are a professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois and play in the American League (AL).
The team has reached the playoffs ten times and won three World Series titles. Additionally, they have earned five pennants and seven division titles throughout its history.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the team struggled to win games and draw fans. Allyn and Bud Selig wanted the team moved to Milwaukee but were denied permission by MLB.
Chicago enjoyed a prosperous 1990s and early 2000s, boasting 12 winning seasons. Players such as Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura provided key contributions to keep the team competitive.
Another glimmer in the White Sox's history occurred in 2009, when Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game - only the third ever! Center fielder Dewayne Wise saved it with an amazing leap catch on the warning track.
No other moment in White Sox history compares to that perfect game. Although they experienced some tough years during the 2010s, it wasn't long until they returned to postseason contention.
In the 2020s, the White Sox made their return to postseason play for the first time in 12 years. Rick Renteria took over as manager and guided them to an impressive 78-84 record in 2016.
Tony La Russa assumed the management of the White Sox in October 2020, leading them to their second playoff appearance of his career and surpassing John McGraw for second-most managerial wins in MLB history.
Before becoming a manager, Espada was an accomplished player. He spent nine years in the minors, including six in Triple A. As both a shortstop and second baseman, his talents were well-honed.
He was selected by the Oakland Athletics in 1996 in the second round. Prior to that, he played for 16 minor league teams.
While in the minors, he was an excellent defensive player and made some outstanding catches. Additionally, he often walked and hit well.
His college years at the University of Mobile, a private Baptist-affiliated liberal arts school in Alabama, were filled with success. Over three seasons there, he hit an impressive.442 average in 1996 - which remains as the best ever recorded for any player in school history.
Rick Renteria managed the Chicago Cubs from 2014-2016, leading them to a 35-25 record and their first playoff appearance since 2008. Unfortunately, he was abruptly fired after one season with the White Sox in 2016, despite an early-season surge and wild-card series loss against Oakland.
This year, the Sox had high hopes for Renteria and his assistants; however, he could not lead them past an 81-81 record that saw them finish third place in the American League Central. A series of injuries and an offense that never found its power stroke also did not help matters.
With Renteria out of the picture, the Sox are now searching for a new manager to take over next year. Hahn said he has no set timeline to hire someone new but believes the right person will come from outside the organization.
Grifol, who serves as Royals' bench coach, has extensive experience working with Latin players and may be the ideal fit for the White Sox. Additionally, he's acquainted with their current roster that features many talented young players.
Don Mattingly, who managed the Dodgers for two seasons prior to this one, could be an ideal hire for the White Sox as well. As a veteran with an impressive major-league resume, he can help foster a winning culture while also helping retool the roster of the White Sox.
Alex Cora, who managed the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, would make a great manager for Hahn as he is familiar with their current roster. Additionally, as an ex-Sox player himself, Cora could potentially help guide them through a rebuilding process similar to what the Cubs went through when they hired Renteria.
Hahn could also look to AJ Hinch, who was suspended for the 2020 season after being accused of signing illegally with the Houston Astros. Hinch boasts an impressive resume and has a proven knack for developing younger players.
The White Sox have no shortage of managerial candidates to choose from, but if they want to win in the future, they need to sign players and make some major moves in free agency. There are numerous holes to fill, including depth in the bullpen. Furthermore, they need to bolster their lineup as starting pitching is lacking and only one position player is capable of playing all outfield positions.
Ventura is a former baseball player who played third base for the Chicago White Sox. After spending his initial three major league seasons with the Sox, Ventura managed the club from 2012 to 2016.
Ventura was selected 10th overall in the 1988 amateur draft out of Oklahoma State University and spent most of his 16-year professional career with the White Sox. During that time, he earned three times All-American recognition and earned himself a Gold Glove award during his time with the team.
He is considered one of the greatest hitters in college baseball history and was a member of two College World Series teams. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being the only college player ever to win a Gold Glove at every defensive position.
After spending a year with Class AA Birmingham Barons of the Southern League, Ventura made his major league debut for the White Sox in 1990. His 123 hits were the most by any White Sox rookie since Ozzie Guillen in 1985.
In 1993, Ventura's batting average dropped 20 points but his slugging and on-base percentages slightly improved. He collected his 500th hit in May and earned himself his third consecutive Gold Glove while becoming the first AL third baseman to reach 90 RBIs three consecutive years.
His 1993 season was marred by an incident that still haunts him to this day: being hit in the ribs by Texas Rangers legend Nolan Ryan during a game. This led to a two-game suspension and much criticism from those watching at home.
Ventura's 1993 season was one of his best yet, despite this unfortunate incident. He reached 30 homers for the first time and finished with a.293 batting average. Additionally, he earned his third consecutive Gold Glove as well as being named the American League's top third baseman for a second straight year.
Ventura had an outstanding career as an infielder and was renowned for his leadership abilities both on and off the field. No matter what was going on around him, he always maintained a calm attitude that earned him respect from those around him. Additionally, his great sense of humor and ability to get along with others earned him many accolades over his career. Fans and critics alike praised Ventura's character and ability to help teammates through difficult circumstances.