Below, we’re going to basically reprint a gussied-up version of the press release the Chicago White Sox sent out this afternoon, announcing the retirement of longtime trainer, Herm Schneider. It’s very well written and drafted with enormous care, which tells you how important Herm is to the White Sox organization.
Before that, let me chime in on how fabulous Herm Schneider is. On the beat, there was rarely the need for contact with Herm, at least for publication. When, for example, Jake Peavy was undergoing his surgeries and rehabs, setbacks and all, it was a White Sox media relations rep who would hold a brief Q&A; Herm was busy working on somebody, somewhere, trying to get that night’s White Sox roster in top shape.
Yet Herm was always one of the most fun people in the White Sox dugout to hang with. He took the time to learn your name, and say hello. During rain delays, or some of the voluminous pregame dead air, or just at whatever time seemed fit, Herm would be good to chill. We shot the breeze, just hanging out at the top dugout step watching BP or infield, many times. Shared a few meals, and a few laughs.
One thing, among all those nice memories of a guy otherwise somewhat anonymous to fans: He is as humble a guy as you can imagine. Whenever reference was made to some terrific rehab job he did, or his (pretty much universally-affirmed) status as the very best in the business, he just smiled and waved it off. So, so genuine.
As you’ll read below, Herm is beyond beloved in the White Sox organization. As Robin Ventura says, Herm is “the fabric of the White Sox organization.”
He is truly irreplaceable.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 3, 2018
HERM SCHNEIDER TO BECOME HEAD ATHLETIC TRAINER EMERITUS IN 2019 AFTER 40 SEASONS WITH THE WHITE SOX
CHICAGO – Herm Schneider, the longest tenured athletic trainer in major league baseball, will move into a new role with the White Sox in 2019 as head athletic trainer emeritus, the club announced today.
Schneider, 66, completed his 40th season with the White Sox in 2018. Originally hired by the Sox prior to the 1979 season, Schneider led one of baseball’s most successful and respected medical and training departments during his tenure. He oversaw major rehabilitation programs for Sox players like Bo Jackson (hip), Ozzie Guillen (knee), Robin Ventura (ankle) and Jake Peavy (lat), worked with Michael Jordan on his athletic conversion from basketball to baseball, and twice during his career responded to life-threatening situations, treating Greg Walker in 1988 and Danny Farquhar in 2018.
“The Chicago White Sox have been incredibly fortunate to have Herm Schneider as our organization’s trainer for the past 40 years,” said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “Herm was with the White Sox even before my partners and I acquired the team in 1981, and he has provided the very best care to our players over four decades. Countless players owe the extensions of their careers to Herm and his tireless work ethic when it comes to injury prevention and treatment. Well respected across baseball, Herm’s commitment to excellence at his craft and focus on keeping players healthy has had an immeasurable impact on our team’s performance over the many years. Professional relationships aside, Herm is a very trusted and dear friend, and I look forward to him remaining with the organization in his new emeritus capacity.”
“While I certainly am proud of all the professional achievements and honors the medical and training staff has received over the past 40 years, it is the friendships and personal relationships that I remember best and make this decision to move into an emeritus role the hardest,” said Schneider. “The friendships I have made here will last the rest of my life.”
“I have been incredibly fortunate to work for Jerry Reinsdorf for the vast majority of my career and to work with an amazing group of doctors, trainers, executives, managers and staff who all share the same focus — the best possible care for everyone who wore a White Sox uniform. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise across the organization in whatever manner seems appropriate in 2019.”
In his new role, Schneider will remain actively engaged with the baseball operations department as an advisor on medical issues relating to free agency, the amateur draft and player acquisition, while continuing to be a resource throughout the training department at the major and minor league levels.
“I first met Herm Schneider after being drafted by the White Sox in 1982, and our relationship has continued throughout my playing career, in player development and as a general manager, through the 2005 World Series championship and now in my role as executive vice president with the team,” said Ken Williams, White Sox executive vice president. “Herm takes great pride in his profession and his knowledge, is meticulous in his approach to our players’ health and has maintained an incredible standard of excellence and care over four decades with the White Sox.”
From 2002-18, the White Sox have used the disabled list just 185 times for a total of 9,057 days missed, both the lowest totals in the major leagues. During that 17-year span, the Sox have led the American League in fewest player days missed eight times, ranked second four times and third once.
A chronological listing of some of Schneider’s many career accomplishments:
- Head Athletic Trainer for the American League at the 2016 All-Star Game
- “Trainer of the Year” at the 2009 Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago’s Awards Banquet
- He and his staff received the 2006 Dick Martin Award for Medical Staff of the Year by Baseball Prospectus
- Presented by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2004 with the City of Chicago’s Appreciation for outstanding service provided to the White Sox
- Head Athletic Trainer for the American League at the 2003 All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field
- Assistant trainer for All-Star Games in 1977 at old Yankee Stadium, 1983 at Comiskey Park and 1991 at Toronto
“Always the first at the ballpark and the last to leave each night, it is impossible to overstate what Herm Schneider has meant to the White Sox during his 40 years of service to our organization,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “The ability of our medical and training staffs to keep our players healthy and on the field is unmatched in baseball over the past four decades.
“We are pleased that Herm will remain with the organization in an emeritus status as his knowledge and expertise will continue to be valued. While Herm will be extremely difficult to replace, discussions are already well underway, and we expect to have a public announcement soon about our future plans for the department.”
Prior to joining the White Sox, Schneider spent nine seasons in the New York Yankees organization, including two as assistant trainer for the World Champion Yankees in 1977 and 1978.
Schneider, a native of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, moved to upstate New York as a child and received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York in 1975. He and his wife, Janet, have two children, Daniel and Caitlin, and reside in Naperville.
Below is a collection of reflections, memories, thanks and well wishes from current and former White Sox managers, coaches, players and staff for longtime team head trainer Herm Schneider:
Harold Baines, former White Sox player and coach
“Herm Schneider is simply the best trainer I ever had. Even more, he is the closest friend I had in baseball … and always will be.”
Mark Buehrle, former White Sox pitcher
“I’m proud of the fact that I took the mound every five days and never went on the disabled list, but there is no way I could have done it without the help of Herm and his staff. I’m fortunate I was able to spend the first 12 years of my career with Herm as my trainer. I consider him a great mentor and friend.”
Ozzie Guillen, former White Sox player and manager
“Herm Schneider was an anonymous hero for many years. I don’t think there is anyone better in the business. His dedication to his job was off the charts. I sincerely believe he is one of the most important people in the history of the White Sox. All the individual accolades that White Sox players have earned during Hermie’s tenure with the team are owed, in part, to him. He always supported and took care of the players. I am grateful for all he did for me. My family and I will always be thankful.
A.J. Pierzynski, former White Sox player
“Hermie was always there no matter what bumps or bruises I had. He always challenged me to be better and get back on the field. His love and care for the players will be missed with the White Sox. He is truly a legend.”
Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph, White Sox team physician
“Herm and I spent 15 years together, and it was a tremendous privilege to work with someone of Herm’s knowledge and skill at the elite level of professional sports. There is a reason why the White Sox led major league baseball as the healthiest team for many, many years, and that reason is Herm Schneider.”
Danny Farquhar, former White Sox pitcher
“Herm will forever hold a special place in my heart and in my story of survival. I would not be here without his skill and fast action. I am blessed to have worked with him and to know him as a friend.”
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, former White Sox broadcaster and general manager
“Herm Schneider was one of the most impactful hires the White Sox organization ever made. For 40 years, Herm kept White Sox players on the field better than any other trainer in the game.”
Bo Jackson, former White Sox player
“Herm Schneider, better known to me as Hunches, is probably the most talented athletic trainer in all of sports. The knowledge he has on getting athletes back on the field is mind boggling. Without his athletic training assistance, I would never have gotten back on the field to play baseball. He is dedicated to his trade, and he sacrificed over half of his life to make sure thousands could have the quality of life that he should be enjoying. I love you Hunches.”
Paul Konerko, former White Sox player
”Having Herm as my trainer for all of my 16 years with the White Sox is truly one of my fondest memories. Not only is Herm a wonderful guy, he prepared me to be able to play the game at a level that I didn’t think was possible. I was lucky to have him. We were all lucky to have him. I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life. Thanks Hermie!”
Tony La Russa, former White Sox manager/HOF
“To me, longevity is the best example you can point to in terms of someone’s excellence as a person and as a professional. Herm’s 40 years speak to how outstanding he was. From ownership, to the front office, to player development, to the manager, coaches and players on the field, it’s tough to earn respect in this game. Herm has done that as well as anyone who has done the head trainer job. He was a great mentor to a lot of trainers across baseball, and if you were fortunate enough to call him a friend, you have something very special.”
Gene Monahan, former New York Yankees head trainer
“We go back a long way. Over all these many, many wonderful years, we call each other brother. Herman became my very first major league assistant athletic trainer. He was spectacular and so only lasted two seasons before the White Sox came calling. The rest is history. He really made a wonderful name for himself. He treated everyone very well. He’s kind to his players, is an expert in his field, is always learning, always striving, always trying new things. Herm has an instinctive love for the game. Without that, you wouldn’t last as long as he has. That’s what made him so great and does to this day.”
Rick Renteria, current White Sox manager
“During my time as a member of the Chicago White Sox organization, I have grown to love Hermie as a coworker and friend. Though he will not be as busy with us on a day-to-day- basis, he will always carry my admiration and respect.”
Jim Thome, former White Sox player/HOF
“I cannot begin to thank Herm for the positive impact he made on my career, and of course, for the friendship that grew out of my time with the White Sox. Working with Herm, we were able to create a treatment and prevention protocol for my back, that no doubt, extended my career and helped me accomplish all that I eventually did in a major league uniform. But beyond the clubhouse partnership, we will remain personal friends for the rest of our lives.”
Robin Ventura, former White Sox player and manager
“Herm has enjoyed a great run. Basically, he is the fabric of the White Sox organization. He’s what helps tie us all together. Herm is that important of a figure for the White Sox. Personally, I will always be appreciative of all that he did for me as a player and as a manager. I cannot say enough. But what I will always cherish the most about Herm is his friendship.”
Dr. Nik Verma, White Sox team physician
“It truly was a wonderful honor and experience to work together with a legend like Herm Schneider. We all take great pride in what the medical team accomplished under his leadership, and Herm deserves the lion’s share of the credit.”
Greg Walker, former White Sox player and coach
“Herm has spent the past 40 years fighting relentlessly to be the best he can be at his job. I personally benefitted greatly from his dedication. He was by my side when I needed him most during a life-threatening event on the field. He was by my side every day rehabbing a chronically bad throwing arm. He sought out Al Vermeil to train a young, slow first baseman trying to gain a half step so I could remain in the league. But without a doubt, his biggest gift to me has been his friendship. I am honored to be able to call Herm my brother. Baseball, and especially the White Sox family, has been blessed to have Herm by our side the last 40 years.”