I took a lot of heat on twitter (@KenWo4liFe) about a week ago for claiming that Rick Hahn has done a questionable job as GM of the Chicago White Sox. I was called a lot of things ranging from fair weather fan to a Kenny Williams ass kisser. I was told that the last 25 years have been disappointing for the White Sox and that now we are on the right track.
Now I don’t care about taking heat on twitter. I actually enjoy it. However, this stuff that I was being told was just plain wrong. First of all, I’m not a fair weather fan. I’ve gone to many games and watched the rest on television for the better part of 35 years. So that was silly. Second, maybe I am a bit of a Kenny Williams ass kisser. He did a fantastic job during his time as GM. He made big moves with a limited payroll, kept the Sox in contention for a long time without being able to give big bonuses to draft picks and had a non-existent presence in Latin America. Last but not least, the White Sox have been disappointing since the last two weeks of 2012. Prior to that though, the White Sox were on a 23-season-run where they were a top five team in the Major Leagues.
I ran the numbers from 1990, the year the White Sox emerged from the black hole of the mid-eighties, all the way through 2012 which was the end of the Kenny Williams era of GM. Here is what I found as far as team wins and World Championships.
- New York Yankees: 2,103 wins and five titles
- Atlanta Braves: 2,091 wins and one title
- Boston Red Sox: 1,982 wins and two titles
- St. Louis Cardinals: 1,935 wins and two titles
5. Chicago White Sox: 1,925 wins and one title
6. San Francisco Giants: 1,917 wins and two titles
7. Oakland Athletics: 1,912 wins and zero titles
8. Los Angeles Dodgers: 1,907 wins and zero titles
9. California Angels: 1,893 wins and one title
10. Philadelphia Phillies: 1,862 wins and one title
10. Texas Rangers: 1,862 wins and zero titles
So the White Sox won the fifth-most games and also secured a World Title in that time. No other AL Central team is on this list. The team finished in first five times and in the current playoff structure would have made the playoffs in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 (if there were playoffs), 1996 (possibly, there would be tiebreakers), 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
After seeing that we would have made the playoffs in the last season at Old Comiskey and the first at New Comiskey, it kind of irks me that we didn’t have this system in place back then. However, that wasn’t the system at the time. It still takes nothing away from those teams that we enjoyed and that some of us apparently took for granted. There were some Hall of Fame players here in that time that played major roles including Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Tim Raines and now Jim Thome.
Maybe one day soon, we can start the clock again. These will be the days of the mid-1980’s. Maybe these prospects can send us on another 23 season run of top-five wins. But lets not act like we’ve never seen it before. It happened. Those of us that are in their mid-30’s and older had a front row seat to all of it.