Monday, November 19, 2007

Blame Gandhi?

Contrary to popular belief, Ozzie Guillen didn't manage the White Sox until 2004. Ozzie was hired in the 2003 off-season, when he was a third base coach for the Florida Marlins. Before that, Ozzie had a bitter ending to his White Sox career in 1997 and wanted nothing to do with the team until enough time had passed. Jerry Manuel was the Sox manager before Ozzie Guillen from 1998 to 2003.

Jerry "Gandhi" Manuel couldn't control a clubhouse. He had too many players at the DH position. Frank Thomas, Jose Canseco and Harold Baines at various times. Frank Thomas was coming back into his early 90's form at this point. Not even Gandhi sits Frank. Harold Baines is a man whose uniform number was retired in 1989 by the White Sox. Although he didn't actually retire until 2001. There's not many places for Canseco to fit in.

There's no room for Frank Thomas at his natural position because Paul Konerko is there. There's no room for Jose Canseco in the outfield because Magglio Ordonez was in right, Carlos Lee was in left and the Aaron Rowand and Chris Singleton are in center. I don't even want to think about Jose pitching. Besides, if he's pitching, Jose is not going to bat. You'd have to get rid of the DH position for the game and no one in their right mind sits Frank Thomas when he's on fire.

But wait, what if Frank gets injured? What do you do then? Well, first you switch fan favorite Harold Baines from pinch hitter to full time DH. What happens when that fails to excite nothing but the fan base? You sign Jose Canseco from the Newark Bears.

Jose debuted in a White Sox uniform on June 21, 2001. Appropriately the first day of summer. He played all the way to the last game in October, mostly as a DH. He subbed for Maggs in right field for two games in July and pinch hit a few times. He played consistently after he arrived in Chicago. Ultimately, he ended up batting .258 with 16 home runs. Not bad, but not setting the world on fire either. It sure beats playing for a minor league team after being cut by the Angels in spring training that year.

Jose did his job for the time the Sox needed him. By 2002, Frank Thomas was back and healthy. Frank played 148 games in 2002. Jose chose to sign with the Montreal Expos in 2002 and was released in spring training. Canseco retired in May 2002.

It's my opinion that the stars aligned for Jose Canseco in 2001. He got consistent playing time for a team that needed him. I think that says a lot about the character of Jose Canseco and the organization of the White Sox.


Tragik007 said...

My bad...I got the Hispanic guys confused. I still think Jose could have been much better if taken out of DH. Look at his 1998 season with Toronto. That was what he could do when playing in the outfield and keeping his body "warm".

46 homers, 29 steals...Big Daddy could never do that.

Steve Gierman said...

I definitely agree. The only option that year for consistent playing time in the outfield would be center field. The White Sox typically go for either speedy guys or gamers who throw their bodies into every play.

Tragik007 said...

That definately was not Jose. By 2001 a bird dropping would have put Jose on the D.L.

BTW, I think as far as content you and I have the best baseball card blogs right now. Some of our competitors are putting me to sleep.

Steve Gierman said...

Thanks, I appreciate that! I enjoy reading a lot of them, but sometimes life entrudes on some of the others and the post aren't as frequent. If everybody posted as frequently, I'd never get anything done.

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