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Ventura vows to be himself as Sox skipper
Because during Ventura’s 16 seasons in the majors _ 10 with the White Sox _ he showed he had the smarts and leadership to some day run a major league team. That’s how Williams saw it and why he offered him the job.
Ventura, introduced Tuesday as the 39th manager of the White Sox, got a three-year contract.
“Whether it be the next day before a game or in the bar after the game or on a bus or wherever on a plane, you have these baseball conversations. For me, those are opportunities to gauge whether a guy has the baseball acumen,” Williams said Tuesday.
“This hire is not dissimilar to the Ozzie Guillen hire, where he didn’t have any managerial experience. We don’t need any other examples from any other organizations. This was right for us.”
Ventura replaces Guillen, his former teammate and friend, who was released from the final year of his contract and is now managing the Marlins. Guillen was a major league coach in Montreal and Florida before getting the White Sox job after the Marlins won the World Series in 2003.
He was surprised and a little apprehensive when Williams broached the subject of managing.
He gave it a great deal of thought, discussed it with his family and then knew it was the right thing to do, especially in a place where he launched a successful career as a clutch-hitting, slick-fielding third baseman (six Gold Gloves) with left-handed power (294 homers, including 18 grand slams).
“Granted, I don’t have that coaching or managerial experience officially but I think later in my career that was something that was evident that I felt I could do it and I felt confident that I could do it,” Ventura said.
The White Sox are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons with a 79-83 record after they were expected to be a contender with a $127 million payroll.
Offseason moves were not a major factor in Ventura’s decision, and he said he doesn’t consider the team to be in a rebuilding stage.
“In taking the job, in our discussions, I didn’t want to get into whether he was going to spend money or not spend money or cut back,” Ventura said. “I was wanting to take the job for no other reason to be the manager and do a good job. Not whether it was going to be a better situation because he was going to go out and get more players or not.”
By John R. Bolton
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