(CBS) Robin Ventura has never managed on any level before. Now, he will take over the reins of the Chicago White Sox.
“This is one of the most surprising days in White Sox history,” White Sox TV color commentator Steve Stone told The Boers and Bernstein Show on Thursday.
“The only thing I know about Robin is that he’s a very nice guy, a wonderful third baseman and hitter, longtime White Sox player, had a wonderful career. The rest? Your guess is as good as mine.”
The decision came as a shock as the White Sox organization was able to keep the hiring a secret until releasing a press release with the official announcement.
Stone said Ventura and general manager Kenny Williams have known each other for years, and this hiring is a huge vote of confidence in Ventura.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Stone said. “Apparently, whatever it was that he told Kenny Williams — and I know he’s been around Kenny Williams for a long time — he must have impressed him with the fact that he believes he can manage this team. (Williams) felt that out of all the candidates that were around and available, Kenny felt that he was the best candidate available for the job.”
Since the release of Ozzie Guillen, the talk had been that the White Sox would hire either Sandy Alomar Jr. or Dave Martinez. So the hire of Ventura came out of nowhere.
“You hear so many rumors,” Stone said. “You didn’t know what to believe and what not to believe. I knew that Robin was coming back and was going to have a role in the organization because it was announced last year. I think everybody was pretty happy with that because he had friends in the organization. … I don’t think that anyone could have envisioned that he would be the next guy.”
Stone added that since Ventura has little to no experience, the coaches he selects will be vital to his success.
“As far as rounding out the rest of the coaching staff, I would think now you would wind up – unless the bench coach is going to be Harold Baines, and I don’t know that for a fact – you would think that they would want someone with fairly substantial Major League experience,” Stone said.