Ventura had no major or minor league coaching experience. He had been hired by the White Sox as special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell on June 6. Ventura's only coaching experience came as an assistant manager for a high school team.
Ventura was not on Williams's list of candidates for the position. Further, Ventura was not mentioned at all as a possible replacement for former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Speaking on 670 WSCR-AM Chicago shortly after the announcement of the hire, Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman said, "I never heard of the guy (in the discussion of candidates)."
The only plausible reason is money. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf likely didn't want to put up money for Francona.
Other ideas can rationalize the hire--without issuing an approving nod. Following are some rationalizing thoughts.
Williams likely wanted a pliable manager. Guillen was confrontational. Often, Guillen complained about having to play expensive players who underperformed. On Aug. 31, Guillen sent Adam Dunn to pinch hit on the last out of the game trailing by one against the Minnesota Twins, only to have him strike out.
The pinch hit appearance by the struggling slugger seemed to be a thumbing of the nose at Williams.
Williams likely wanted a manager to play the players who he signed and acquired to play. Williams wanted someone who would take marching orders.
Francona would have wanted some degree of personnel authority. While Martinez and Sandy Alomar Jr. don't have any sort of track record of executive decision making, but their enhanced strategic ability could open them up to the idea.
Similar to Williams, Reinsdorf likely wanted someone who would to the company line. Reinsdorf likely wanted a different tone. He wanted someone who would be supportive of Williams.
Ventura will take marching orders. Also, Ventura will be much quieter than Guillen was.
Williams likely wanted to hire someone who would accept coming seasons of rebuilding.
The White Sox appear to be headed for thin years ahead. The White Sox will likely lose Mark Buehrle and Carlos Quentin since they may not be able to pay him. Also, they are saddled with big salaries tied to underperforming players, such as Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
The White Sox won't be able to jump around and make the big trades that Williams was accustomed to make in recent years. Reinsdorf won't be willing to put up money for those trades or for significant signings. That is the case, unless the NBA owners secure a splendid deal in negotiations with the NBA Players Association.
If the NBA owners get a favorable deal, then Reinsdorf might be able to divert money that he would have otherwise committed to the Chicago Bulls. That is unlikely.
The White Sox will return to their low payroll small-market selves. Ventura will be commanding a White Sox team playing through mediocre years. If he's lucky, he might be able to make the playoffs in the topsy-turvy AL Central. White Sox fans shouldn't expect too much.
Perhaps, Ventura convinced Williams that he didn't need to go to great lengths in interviews with Martinez, Francona, or anyone else because he had a special plan for hitters.
While Ventura had many accomplishments as a player, his coaching philosophy is unknown. Ventura may have ideas that no one knows about. Ventura may have hitting ideas that he sprinkled during broadcasts on ESPN, or even kept to himself. Ventura may have come up with new ideas on managing hitting while broadcasting.
Ventura could have expressed such ideas to Williams. Perhaps, Ventura unveiled a plan to turn back the clock on Dunn and reinvent Rios. Possibly, Ventura has a plan to maximize slugging potential of players.
If Ventura holds any of these ideas, then these ideas could have persuaded Williams to hire him.
Another rationalizing thought comes from bunk Chicago sports logic.
Bear with me. This isn't a train of thought to which I subscribe.
The White Sox might have hired Ventura because Williams and Reinsdorf want a clear White Sox identity in the leadership of the team. Ventura played with the White Sox for the first 10 years of his career. Harold Baines is locked in as bench coach.
Williams might be planning to bring in other former White Sox players as coaches. Perhaps, Williams will hire Craig Grebeck and Frank Thomas as coaches. Maybe Dave Martinez will come and help.
This could turn into a new sort of marketing campaign (i.e. "Bleeding Black"). Granted, this is not something that would produce a winner. Nevertheless, the White Sox would try any crazy scheme for marketing.
Indeed, Martinez played three years with the White Sox and could ably fit that role. Also, Sandy Alomar Jr. played five seasons in the latter part of his career with the White Sox. Francona managed in the White Sox minor league system.
Unlike them, Ventura made his name as a player with the White Sox. His career is most closely associated with the White Sox. This isn't a winning or even encouraging line of thought, but it could be an explanation.
Possibly, Williams could have hired Ventura simply to take a personal stab at Guillen. By hiring a former teammate of Guillen's to succeed him, Williams could be saying that a former teammate could do his job.
This is purely irrational if it serves as Williams's rationale. The reasoning would display Williams as one who isn't above anything. Such reasoning would simply serve to perpetuate a grudge.
Personal hang-ups don't have a place in management. Nevertheless, they play factors in management decisions. Hopefully, this didn't serve as the primary purpose Williams had in hiring Ventura.
One would like to think that Williams hired Ventura because he was the ideal candidate.