White Sox Wednesday: Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen made his major league debut for the White Sox on April 9, 1985. The shortstop earned the Rookie of the Year Award in large part to his .980 fielding percentage and his amazing range at the position. At the plate that season, Guillen notched 134 hits with 21 doubles and posted a .273 batting average.

Guillen spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the White Sox. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner.

While he didn’t have Hall of Fame-worthy numbers, for three consecutive seasons from 1986 through 1988, he led the league in wins against replacement (WAR).

In an early-season game in 1992, on a bloop fly ball to short left field against the Yankees, Guillen collided with left fielder Tim Raines. Guillen hyperextended his right knee, also tearing his ACL and MCL. He missed the remainder of the season.

He returned in 1993 and, while he was still among the best defensive shortstops in baseball, it was obvious to most he wasn’t 100 percent the same.

After the 1997 season, Guillen left Chicago for Baltimore. He played with the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays in his last two major league seasons before retiring after the 2000 season.

Guillen returned to the Southside of Chicago in 2004, when the White Sox hired him as their new manager. In his first season as manager, he led his team to a record of just four games over .500 with an 83-79 record.

Heading into 2005, the team was very optimistic that they could improve in Guillen’s second managerial campaign.

All his team did was win 99 games, ending the franchise’s 88-year World Series drought.

Their playoff run was dominated by pitching. The White Sox swept the Boston Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series by a combined score of 24-9. Next, they won the Championship Series in five games over Los Angeles Angels by a combined score of 23-11.

The season culminated with a four-game sweep over the Houston Astros in the World Series. The World Series included a pair of two-run wins, with one coming in a Game 3 match which lasted 14 innings, and a pair of one-run wins including the series-winning game, which they won 1-0.

An amazing playoff run for the ages.

The following season, Guillen’s team won 90 games but it was only good enough to finish third in the American League Central. He remained the team’s skipper through the 2011 season, never being able to achieve the pinnacle he reached in his second season. He wore the uniform for 19 total seasons.

Guillen managed the Marlins for one season in 2012, but will always be associated with the White Sox as a superb shortstop, more so for the Cinderella season and World Series championship.

It is only a matter of time before his No. 13 jersey is retired, and it would be even more special should it be the next one to get enshrined, making it the 13th in team history.

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