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South Side Sox Podcast 27 — Erin Santana, White Sox Minor League Education Coordinator

One of the unsung heroes of the organization, essentially preparing players for success in all aspects of their Stateside lives, joins us for a revealing conversation

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

A few weeks ago, a player who had been featured in our Top 100 Prospects series reached out to provide a photo (DSL players are extremely hard to illustrate for these profiles). But the player, Frander Veras, couldn’t reach out directly, for reasons including a very straightforward one: the Spanish-English language barrier.

So he got in touch with White Sox minor league education coordinator Erin Santana (who, as it turns out, has been doing a little PR for South Side Sox by letting her students know when they’ve been featured by us) — and from that seed, this podcast grew.

Erin was gracious enough to give us a lot of time, and hopefully that comes from a place of mutual respect and even admiration — we were adding diacritics to Spanish names before MLB or Baseball-Reference, after all! On our end, it’s easy to see what a godsend Erin has been to our Latin players.

In our wide-ranging conversation, we hit on a lot of core stuff about the White Sox player education system, but stretched far beyond. Please do yourself a favor, and give this one a listen!

In what we hope is the first of many talks, the podcast touches on:

  • As a granddaughter of a college pitcher, was Erin destined to work in baseball?
  • How she came to the White Sox in the first place, after growing up rooting for the other Sox
  • The importance of a huge advocate like director of player development Chris Getz being so closely involved
  • Being so committed to making sure her player-students succeed that doors get pounded on to make sure tests aren’t missed
  • Yes, it’s true, “son” Harvin Mendoza made her tear up
  • Surprise student Michael Kopech sitting in on classes and helping to kick-start a sort of study-buddy system
  • What responsibility do native English-speaking personnel (teammates, executives, media) have to aspiring bilingual players?
  • And of course, an obligatory Billy Russo question

Listen below, on our built-in Megaphone player:

or follow along with every episode at Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and watch the podcast play out on video at that online hit factory, South Side Hit Pen’s YouTube channel.

Thanks again to Erin for her generosity! In the comments below, feel free to suggest future questions or topics you’d like to hear about when we speak with Erin again.