Former All Star Chicago White Sox player Robin Ventura has been named the team's new manager, the team announced on Thursday.
A two-time All Star during his 16 years in the major leagues, Ventura was seen as a surprise choice by many, but fit what general manager Ken Williams was looking for.
When I met with the media as our season ended, I identified one person at the very top of my managerial list, general manager Ken Williams said in a statement. I wanted someone who met very specific criteria centered around his leadership abilities. Robin Ventura was that man. His baseball knowledge and expertise, his professionalism, his familiarity with the White Sox and Chicago and his outstanding character make him absolutely the right person to lead our clubhouse and this organization into the seasons ahead.
Ventura was drafted in the first round by the White Sox in 1988 and played 10 seasons in the major leagues with the team. He has no managerial experience, but was hired by the White Sox as a special advisor to Director of Player Development Buddy Bell this past June.
I do have a passion for it, Ventura told reporters in a conference call on Thursday. I do have a passion for this team and this city. I'm not one to really back away from a lot of things . . . The passion is there to do it, I was asked to do it. I'm honored.''
The move could draw quizzical looks from White Sox fans and some media for his lack of experience, especially with veteran manager Terry Francona now on the market, but one national writer is already impressed by the move.
Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman gave the White Sox credit on Twitter in a series of complementary tweets about the management move.
Robin Ventura is a great hire for manager, Heyman tweeted. Shocking, but love the choice.
He went on to call Ventura one of the best guys I ever covered and that he was honest, down to Earth and smart.
Ventura replaces the mouthy and oft-controversial Ozzie Guillen who left the organization to manage the Florida Marlins. Ventura likely won't provide anywhere near the amount of quote worthy material that originated from Guillen's mouth on a daily basis, but could help get the talented club back on track after a disappointing season.
We had to explain to him exactly what the support system would be and exactly what our expectations were at the start, Williams said. I was very clear with him that I do not expect him to be Tony La Russa on Day 1.