Tagged: Buddy Bell

I Miss Him Already

I’m going to miss Our Ozzie.

I’ll miss his bewildering stream of conciousness, his fall-down-laughing humor, his solid managing and his debunking of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. Most of all, though, I’ll miss that we had “one of us” at the helm of the White Sox who no longer will be the face of the franchise.

Having said all that as a fan of Ozzie since he put on the Sox uniform in 1985 and one who saw him guide the Sox to a World Series title, it’s time for the skipper, and for us, to move on. Nothing lasts forever and it became obvious when Ozzie began campaigning for a contract extension. Sorry, Oz, but that was bad timing if you really wanted to stay in Chicago. A contract extension after presiding over one of the most disappointing seasons in the teams’s history? There was no way that was going to fly with the Chairman.

So, what now? I think it would be an exercise in futility to try and find someone as colorful and fits as perfectly as Ozzie did in the context of his Sox bloodline. That person doesn’t exist. That’s not to say we won’t hire an outstanding manager with the potential of getting better results–even someone with a high profile who will help bring the fans back into the fold. But there’s only one Ozzie and we shouldn’t look for a clone.

The names of candidates are out there, though Kenny Williams hasn’t tipped his hand. Tony LaRussa is a longshot at best. There’s Dave Martinez, Sandy Alomar, Jr., up and coming AAA manager Joe McEwing, former manager and Sox player development director Buddy Bell, among them. Williams has said that because of Ozzie’s “warning” the Sox already have been focusing on a possible replacement and the decision could come sooner than later.

Last offseason, the Sox were “All In” for 2011. This offseason there undoubtedly will be substantial changes. A new manager, certainly new coaches and a belt-tightening that might see more familiar names–like Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton  and Carlos  Quentin–leaving as well.

It’s a time of change on the South Side. While I’ll miss Ozzie and some of the others, an overhaul is the right thing to do. We need to move on.



The Baseball Hairstons: A Story That Needs to be Told

52614237.jpgI recently saw the above picture of one-time White Sox pinch-hitter extraordinaire Jerry Hairston (now a Sox minor league hitting instructor) in a Chicago Tribune photo gallery. It reminded me of something that should get much more attention than it does.

You see, the HairstonsSam, John, Jerry, Scott and Jerry Jr.–are one of a trio of three-generation major league families along with the much more publicized Bells (Gus, Buddy, David and Mike) and Boones (Ray, Bob, Bret and Aaron). The Hairstons, however, are the biggest family with five players.

Here’s the Hairston rundown:

* Sam: Started in the Negro Leagues. He was the first American black White Sox player when he was a backup catcher and pinch-hitter during the 1951 season and spent more than a half-century as a player, scout and coach. The father of Jerry and John and grandfather to Jerry Jr. and Scott, he passed away in 1997 at the age  of 77.

* John: Played a handful of games for the 1969 Cubs as a catcher, outfielder and pinch-hitter.

* Jerry Sr.: Enjoyed 14 seasons in the big leagues in the 70s and 80s as an outfielder, first baseman and pinch-hitter, all with the White Sox except for part of the 1977 season when he was with Pittsburgh. He also stands as the Sox all-time leader in pinch hits with 87.

* Jerry Jr.: Now in his 13th big league season, Jerry has played with the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Reds and last year won a World Series ring with the Yankees. He has played a variety of positions and will do so this year with the Padres.

* Scott: An outfielder-second baseman who reached the majors in 2004 with the Diamondbacks. He went from the D-backs to the Padres to the A’s and will be rejoining the Padres in 2010 where he will be teammates with his brother.

EJ2NK4le.jpg             Jerry Jr., Jerry Sr. and Scott (above), John’s uniform number with the
             Cubs–because no photo of him was readily available–and patriarch Sam