During his tenure as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen was a man of many words. How often one was able to understand those words is often debated.
Nevertheless, Guillen’s reign as manager combined success, controversy and entertainment, which were hardly present up until his appointment in 2003.
And under Guillen, numerous players were able to come into their own and establish themselves as legitimate baseball players who were able to contribute and obtain a World Series title.
Here I have compiled a list of 5 players who dramatically succeeded under Ozzie Guillen.
Alexei Ramirez: A Silver Slugger recipient in 2010, shortstop Alexei Ramirez used the Latin influence of Ozzie Guillen to transform from a raw, unpolished prospect to one of the league’s elite all-around shortstops.
John Danks: Still only 26-years old, the hard-throwing lefty often did not get the necessary run support to post better numbers, but he was lauded by former skipper Ozzie Guillen, comparing him to staff ace Mark Buehrle.
Carlos Quentin: Under Guillen, “CQ” was able to put together very respectable power numbers to go along with two All-Star appearances and a silver slugger.
Going from a want-away, recovering alcoholic to the White Sox’s third most successful closer in franchise history is no easy task without proper guidance and influence. Bobby Jenks was able to thrive in a White Sox uniform because unlike other managers in the MLB, Ozzie was willing to put aside past errors and give Jenks an opportunity.
Jenks repaid the faith of Ozzie by pitching in all four games of the 2005 World Series and also setting a then record of retiring 41 straight batters. And while he left the city of Chicago somewhat of a villain, Bobby Jenks knows that he owes every bit of his career revitalization to Ozzie Guillen.
It is a shame that Jermaine Dye, the 2005 World Series MVP, was unable to find a suitor once his tenure with the White Sox was over. That being said, the importance of Jermaine Dye to the White Sox (particularly the 2005 WS team) is unquestionable when Ozzie Guillen was managing.
To go along with that World Series MVP, Dye was a feared hitter during his White Sox prime who could also play right field with the best of them. Adding a Silver Slugger and an All-Star appearance to his résumé is just the icing on the cake for this White Sox cult hero.
Love him or hate him (and most people hate him), AJ Pierzynski has arguably been the most consistent player the White Sox have had the past four or five seasons. Most of that steadiness is testament to his work ethic, willingness to put the team first and most importantly, the nurturing of Ozzie Guillen.
Like the Bobby Jenks situation, Ozzie was able to get the most out of his eccentric catcher, mostly because they were one in the same. White Sox fans will never forget the “Michael Barrett” instance from the 2006 Crosstown Classic, and the support Ozzie gave his colorful backstop.
What can be said that hasn’t already been uttered when it comes to the most recognizable pitcher on the White Sox staff? Buerhle has constantly been the workhorse of White Sox pitching, and his success can be credited due to the relationship he had with Ozzie Guillen.
Guillen knew what he was getting whenever number 56 took the bump, as Buerhle managed to dominate lineups without ever having an overpowering arm. Multiple Gold Gloves, a record-setting 45 batters retired in a row, no-hitters, a perfect game, numerous All-Star appearances—those numbers speak for themselves.
Mr. White Sox, Captain Paulie, Paulie K—one cannot begin to talk about the White Sox without bringing up Paul Konerko. An unquestionable fan favorite, Ozzie and Paulie seemed like opposites when it came to demeanor, but both had the same competitive drive and motivation whenever they showed up to the ball park.
Paulie K will be the first person to shower others with praise when it comes to his own success, and there is nobody he thanks more than Ozzie Guillen. His career numbers with the Sox rank among the best in franchise history, and fans are anxious to see how he will fair the remainder of his career without Ozzie backing him.