Do Good Players Make Good Managers?

This week the sports blogs were all a buzz over the potential (or inevitable) dismissal of a few MLB managers. According to a Sports Illustrated story out this week, help Robin Ventura was among five MLB Managers likely to be let go at the end of the 2015 season.  Sox fans have been out for the head of Robin Ventura for the past two years because of sub par seasons. As one of my friends said, advice Uncle Jerry (Reinsdorf) is too reliant on past players becoming managers for the club. Which made me think, has there ever been good player that has proven to be good manager for the White Sox? Let’s take a look the last four managers the White Sox have had to see if their player stats can hold up to their managerial ones.

Terry Bevington
Years managed: 1995-1997
Games managed: 436
Record: 222 W vs. 214 L

Sadly, Terry Bevington had a rather forgettable time in Chicago, and he never managed at the major league level after being dismissed by the White Sox following two and a half seasons at the helm. As a player, he tooled around in the minor leagues for a few seasons after being drafted by the New York Yankees in 1974. He played in 368 minor league games between 1974 and 1980 with a career batting average of .247, but was never able to break into the big leagues. One of Bevington’s more infamous moments as the White Sox Manager happened in 1995 when the Brewers manager Phil Garner and Bevington got into a fight near third base. The funny part of this clip are announcers talking about the overreaction by the player on third base, Ozzie Guillen.  Foreshadowing perhaps…

Jerry Manuel
Years managed: 1998-2003
Games managed: 971
Record: 500 W vs. 471 L

One of the more notable names on the list, Jerry Manuel had a decent career in the MLB as a manager for the White Sox and, later, with the New York Mets. As a player from 1975-1982 Manuel played in less than 100 games over five major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres before starting his coaching career. Manuel’s 2004 Topps card highlights his place in a lesser-known equal-rights milestone.

Ozzie Guillen
Years managed: 2004-2011
Games managed: 1,295
Record: 678 W vs. 617 L

Known for managing the third most games in White Sox history, Guillen was passionate and emotional as both a player and a manager. He was originally signed by the San Diego Padres in 1980 as an amateur free agent before being traded to the White Sox where he spent the next 13 seasons.  Guillen’s passion made him a fan favorite on the South Side while he earned the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year award, three All-Star appearances and a Gold Glove Award. In his later career he was traded to the Baltimore Oriels, the Atlanta Braves and then finally to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000 where he retired as a player at the end of the season. Guillen played in 1,993 games with a career batting average of .264.  In his eight years at the helm of the White Sox, Guillen led the team to a .524 overall winning percentage, highlighted by the team’s first World Series Championship in 88 years.

Robin Ventura
Years managed: 2012-Present (maybe 2015…)
Games managed: 468
Record: 221 W vs. 265 L

As a player, Ventura was drafted by the White Sox in 1988 and was called up to the majors in 1989.  He played for the White Sox for 10 years and spent the six seasons from 1999 through 2004 with the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.  At the end of his White Sox days, Ventura had collected a .274 batting average, one All-Star appearance, five Gold Glove Awards and the franchise’s record for most career grand slams with nine.

As you can see from recent White Sox history, a players past stats do not seem to make a difference on their managerial wins and losses.

In January of 2014, the White Sox announced they’d agreed to a “multi-year” contract extension with manager Robin Ventura. No further details on amounts or years were mentioned at that time. My hunch is that these key details were left out of any press release as a potential future exit strategy. There’s only a few more games left in the season until we’ll see what Uncle Jerry will do. If history proves itself in the same pattern of hiring from within the organization, my bet is on Bobby Tigpen who is the current a bullpen coach for the White Sox or Julio Vinas and Tommy Thompson who are managing with White Sox minor league affiliates.  But for now, we’ll just need to wait it out until the final game of the 2015 season to see if 2016 can be a more productive year on the southside.

Who would you replace Robin with? Tweet me your feedback at @colreaney

Category: White Sox

About the author: Colleen Reaney. White Sox Correspondent. Colleen is a true southside girl at heart. This Irish-catholic lass was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and has a great passion for her beloved Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Football and Illini Basketball. She has a BA from Eastern Illinois University, a MA from Governors State University and is working on her doctorate in higher education.  Colleen balances her time between working and teaching in higher education and her young family in Mt. Greenwood.

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