November 3, 2003 CHICAGO (Ticker) - Shortly after being part of the Florida Marlins' dream season, Ozzie Guillen landed his dream job.
The Chicago White Sox on Monday named Guillen, a three-time All-Star who played shortstop for the team for 13 seasons, the 37th manager in franchise history.
Guillen received a two-year contract with a club option for a third season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The hiring completes a whirlwind autumn for Guillen, who is a little more than a week removed from earning a World Series ring as third base coach of the Marlins.
"I am excited and thrilled to be returning to Chicago to manage the White Sox," said Guillen, who replaces the fired Jerry Manuel. "I have always been a White Sox at heart, no matter where baseball has taken me, and this is the job I always wanted."
The 39-year-old Guillen lacks managerial experience and has been a major league coach for just three seasons, but that apparently did not matter to White Sox general manager Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
"He bleeds White Sox baseball and he is going to provide something here that we desperately need, a jolt if you will," Williams said.
Guillen and former Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston emerged as the finalists while Terry Francona and Buddy Bell, both of whom have major league managerial experience, also interviewed for the job.
Gaston managed the Blue Jays for nine seasons and won World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.
Guillen spent 13 of his 16 major league seasons with the White Sox and was a career .264 hitter with 28 homers and 619 RBI.
"I wore this uniform 13 years," Guillen said. "My heart always was here."
The three-time All-Star also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Guillen began his coaching career with the Montreal Expos in 2001 and has spent the last two seasons as a third base coach.
"Twenty-three years in baseball have helped prepare me for this day," Guillen said. "I can't thank Jack McKeon and the Florida Marlins enough for the opportunity to coach third base and be part of a very special World-Series winning season."
The White Sox finished 86-76 and in second place in the American League Central Division, four games behind the Minnesota Twins.
Guillen takes over a team that fell way short of expectations. The White Sox were the favorites to win the AL Central in 2003 after adding pitchers Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch to a lineup that already included sluggers Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez.
Thomas and the White Sox recently exercised a mutual contract option for him to return next season. Thomas clashed with Manuel at times, and Guillen has no intention of coddling the slugging first baseman.
"I'm sorry but Frank will play my way," Guillen said. "I hear negatives about Frank but I want him to be how he was in the early 90's when I was here ... But I love Frank. I want him here and I need him to be a great player in the clubhouse."
But the White Sox started slowly and were just 25-33 on June 4. The team showed improvement and Williams acquired second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielder Carl Everett early in the summer.
Manuel appeared to have saved his job when the White Sox played well immediately after the All-Star break. Chicago, however, was just 25-28 since August 2 and Manuel was fired the day after the season ended.
Updated on Monday, Nov 3, 2003 6:50 pm EST
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