With Paul Konerko getting his number retired this weekend it got me to thinking who might be the next person to be honored by the White Sox by having their number taken out of circulation. Certainly there are some names that pop up when talking to fans but for me there is one choice that stands above the rest. Ozzie Guillen.
Obviously some relationships will have to be mended in order for this to happen, but I think we are getting to a place where both sides are far enough removed from the break-up that they can begin to look back fondly on their times together.
As a player, Ozzie played 13 years (just like his number) with the Sox between 1985 and 1997. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1985, the club’s last ROY before Jose Abreu last year. He was a three-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner, another in a long line of great White Sox shortstops. He ranks as the White Sox all-time leader in defensive wins above replacement, ahead of Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox and Luke Appling.
As a player, Guillen ranks sixth all-time in games played, seventh in hits, tenth in runs scored, ninth in total bases and tenth in triples. In 10 of his 13 seasons he played in 130 plus games, almost all of them at shortstop. While Guillen was never great, he was consistent, and almost always penciled into the lineup. That should count for something.
In 2004, Guillen became the White Sox manager. Over eight seasons Guillen managed 1295 games for the White Sox, the third most in franchise history behind Jimmy Dykes and Hall of Famer Al Lopez. His 678 wins also rank as the third most in team history and his .524 winning percentage is the second highest among any Sox manager with at least 800 games managed. He is the only White Sox manager to make multiple trips to the postseason, and of course, brought the City of Chicago its first World Series title since 1917.
When it was all said and done Ozzie Guillen put on a White Sox uniform for 3038 games, more than any other person in franchise history.
Having your number retired is the ultimate honor that a franchise can bestow on someone. It is a symbol of the impact that a certain person had on that team over the course of his career. Guillen had that impact, as both a player and as a manger. He was a part of three playoff teams during his time with the Sox, and managed the team to a World Series title. Few other people in the history of the White Sox have had the lasting impact that Guillen did.
This is why I believe that it is time for the White Sox to bury the hatchet and recognize Ozzie Guillen for all he did for their franchise. It doesn’t have to be right now, but at some point, lucky number thirteen should join the ranks of the other Sox greats up on façade behind home plate at US Cellular Field.