The baseball world seems to have a love-hate relationship with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. He’s honest, and we all like honesty. Or, at least we pretend to like honesty. But he’s also loud and somewhat egotistical, and maybe even a little crazy.
Guillen let loose on Saturday when asked about his future with the White Sox and whether he had any interest in heading to the north side of Chicago next season. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the goods.
“If [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf] don’t want me, yes,” Guillen said. “My position was I would
never sign another place and leave the White Sox for the Cubs because of
the respect for Jerry. But if Jerry is leaving me? I not leaving them,
they are leaving me. Then, I have a choice to make. Everything is out
there. As soon as you get divorced, you are free to do whatever you want.”
Guillen made sure to explain this his “first, second and third” choice would be to remain with the White Sox. But he wants a commitment from the team and the speculation that he might be let go has clearly found its way under his skin.
The White Sox will miss the playoffs this year for a second consecutive season. Still, our guess is that he stays. Reinsdorf likes him, general manager Kenny Williams likes him, and players seem to enjoy playing for him. Plus, it’s not like the White Sox were completely out of contention all year. The Twins simply ran away with the division crown down the stretch.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.