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Chicago White Sox: 7 Reasons Ozzie Guillen Is the Best Manager in Baseball

Terrell BarnesCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2011

Chicago White Sox: 7 Reasons Ozzie Guillen Is the Best Manager in Baseball

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    Ozzie Guillen takes a laid back style that at times is combative. It's tough for many baseball fans to see the true managerial ability of managers with his profile.

    Without a doubt, everyone will agree Ozzie understands the aspects of the game that the untrained eye cannot pick up. 

    Many are stuck on his combative style and fail to see a manager with a great winning percentage. It is tough to see how he gets all his players on the same page. These seven reasons will shed light on it and make clear that Ozzie is the best manager in baseball. 

Student of the Game

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    Ozzie Guillen played the Shortstop position for the White Sox in the 1980’s. Lacking the ability to hit for power, Ozzie made a name for himself for great defense at Shortstop.  Ozzie lacked the power hitting of Barry Larkin and the flash of Ozzie Smith in the 1980’s.

    He excelled as a team leader and a positive teammate in the clubhouse.  Ozzie did the little things needed to win. He excelled at stealing bases when needed.  He was great in hit-and-run situations and hit many sacrifice fly balls for RBIs. 

    His playing style translates well to his team. The White Sox brand is based on grinding it out and doing the little things. This happens because the Manager's approach works its way down to each member of the team.

    Hired on November 3, 2003, in the first seven seasons Ozzie averaged 86 wins a year with two first place finishes in the AL Central and a World Series Title. The White Sox' performance over Ozzie’s first seven years in the table below backs up the argument for Ozzie.

     

    2004 Chicago White Sox

    83

    79

    0.512

    2nd, ALC

           

    2005 Chicago White Sox

    99

    63

    0.611

    1st, ALC 

         

    *

    2006 Chicago White Sox

    90

    72

    0.556

    3rd, ALC

           

    2007 Chicago White Sox

    72

    90

    0.444

    4th, ALC

           

    2008 Chicago White Sox

    89

    74

    0.546

    1st, ALC

     

    *

       

    2009 Chicago White Sox

    79

    83

    0.488

    3rd, ALC

           

    2010 Chicago White Sox

    88

    74

    0.543

    2nd, ALC

           

Longevity with Organization

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    Chicago is not an easy sports town. While the fans are loyal, as demonstrated by the long suffering of Cubs fans, it takes someone who understands the Chicago culture. Ozzie Guillen in that respect is far and away the best manager in Chicago and the league.

    With three decades of connection to his organization, he has mastered interplay between the players, media and organization. Three decades with a connection to one organization gives him the advantage over any manager in baseball. 

Candor

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    The honesty with upper management goes back to his three decades in the organization. He played alongside Ken Williams, the General Manager. This gives Ozzie the ability to challenge management on decisions (and he has on many occasions) because he is talking to a peer and contemporary.

    Ozzie is so straightforward that he even fired his own son who held a job in the scouting and video department when he became a distraction to the team.  One would be hard-pressed to find a manager who can fire his own son for the good of the team. He puts team first at all levels. 

Challenges

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    Certain players within a franchise reach icon levels and managers rarely take on these players for poor performance.  In the case of Ozzie Guillen, he took on Frank Thomas for slacking off toward the end of his career. Many managers would shy away from calling out a player who arguably put the team back on the map in the 1990’s going forward.

    White Sox baseball went into hibernation in the middle-to-late 1980’s and Frank Thomas, along with a supporting cast of stars, brought attention back to the South side. Ozzie called Frank Thomas out and it set the tone for all the other players. 

Special Connection

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    The best managers often have a connection to the fans. In the case of Tommy Lasorda, his connection was based on his laid back demeanor and that played well with the L.A. Dodgers. For Joe Torre, his business-like demeanor worked well with the New York Yankees who were all business and about winning championships.

    His connection to the fans is that of a regular guy who is straightforward and does not let the glamour of the position get to him. In many ways, this is the approach for the typical White Sox fan in life. Ozzie is able to tap into that connection and as a result it fuels loyal White Sox fans. 

Deals well with unbalanced Sports Media Coverage

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    It’s tough for any manager with two baseball teams in the same city. I would argue it's even tougher for Ozzie. The Chicago Cubs have a national audience and a wider reach thanks, in part, to the WGN TV Network.

    As a result, the Chicago Cubs fan base is large and will likely remain larger than the Sox'. In addition, most of the entertainment in Chicago is on the North Side of town. Therefore the coverage becomes unbalanced. 

    Many White Sox fans realize the Cubs can win a wild card slot and receive a rally in the city plaza. On the other hand, the White Sox can win their division and receive basic headlines. Ozzie does a great job of not letting this get to him. He deals with media coverage no MLB manager deals with. 

Chicago Attitude

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    I would not be doing justice to this list without mentioning the fact that Ozzie has swagger. The type of swagger that a manager needs to make it in Chicago to deal with the unbalanced media, speak truth, fire his own son to avoid distractions on the team.

    In the age of athletes looking to stand out beyond the game, it helps to have a manager to be able to deal with the various personalities. It helps for the manager to have a personality of his own. In that department, Ozzie has it in surplus and this makes him the best manager in baseball. 

    Follow Terrell Barnes on Twitter @TerrellBarnes or check out his profile page to become a fan.  

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