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Today in White Sox History: November 25

One of the weirder characters in team history signs on

The Adam LaRoche era was horrible — and that was before he abruptly retired in spring training.
| Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

1985

Ozzie Guillén of the White Sox was named AL Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Guillén, who came to the Sox in a deal involving 1983 Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt, didn’t disappoint. Offensively, Ozzie recorded 134 hits and had a .273 batting average. But it was his defense — carrying on a line of White Sox glove wizards from Venezuela — that was outstanding. In 150 games, Guillén only committed 12 errors the entire season and racked up 1.8 defensive WAR. It was the start of run through 1990 where the shortstop totaled 17.1 dWAR and ended with a 1990 Gold Glove — the only one of his 16-season career.

He received 16 of 28 first-place votes, and finished with 101 points. Teddy Higuera of the Brewers was second.

Ozzie returned as manager after his playing days ended. Twenty years after his ROY honors, Guillén piloted the White Sox to a 2005 World Series win.


2005

White Sox GM Ken Williams rolled the dice and traded popular center fielder Aaron Rowand to the Phillies for slugger Jim Thome. The Peoria native hammered 42 home runs and took the AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2006, but many felt the trade changed the chemistry and philosophy of the club that won the World Series in 2005 — to say nothing of the defensive hole it created in center field.

Thome would play almost four years with the Sox and hit 134 home runs, along with three seasons of at least 90 RBIs. He hit his 500th career home run in 2007 at U.S. Cellular Field, beating the Angels with a walk-off blast.

In addition to cash coming back to the White Sox along with Thome (making more than $14 million per year), two minor-leaguers were sent to Philadelphia, Daniel Haigwood and 20-year-old future starter standout Gio González.


2014

In a bold commitment to the designated hitter spot, the White Sox signed Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal. After a 2012 season that saw LaRoche put up phenomenal production (33 homers, 100 RBIs, 127 OPS+, 4.2 WAR, sixth in NL MVP voting, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger), LaRoche fizzled om 2013 and rebounded in 2014. He seemed a safe, and left-handed, bat.

However, things played out much uglier, as LaRoche faltered badly with his new team (12 homers and 44 RBIs in 127 games, 78 OPS+, -0.7 WAR). And during the next spring training, in one of the strangest stories ever to come out of the South Side, LaRoche abruptly retired after GM Ken Williams asked him to keep his son, Drake, out of the White Sox locker room; LaRoche walked away from his full $13 million salary for 2016 with the decision.


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