1. Magglio Ordonez is going to announce his retirement this weekend in Detroit, and I’m wishing he was doing it in Chicago.
Ordonez spent 14 seasons in the White Soxorganization, twice as long as with the Tigers. He made his name with the Sox organization and played a huge role in helping the team win 95 games and a Central title in 2000.
Paul Konerko calls him the best all-around player he’s ever played alongside, and that says a lot. It’s a shame that he left here in a bad way -- battling withJerry Reinsdorf and Ken Williams over both his contract demands (through agent Scott Boras) and the best way to rehabilitate a damaged knee, and then engaged in a cat fight with Ozzie Guillen, who in that era was only too happy to reflect management views.
It’s silly that Ordonez became persona non grata when he signed with the Tigers, as their creative offer was a lot better than anything he was given to stay in Chicago.
Ordonez’s departure created salary flexibility that Williams helped turn into multiple players on the way to the World Series in 2005, but Ordonez answered back by leading the Tigers to the Series in ’06. He was second to Alex Rodriguez in MVP voting in ’07, when he won a batting title (hitting .363) and drove in 139 runs.
Sometimes there’s no way to keep one of your own players when they reach free agency, and Magglio was probably one of those guys. He played only 52 games in 2004 and went against White Sox wishes to have surgery on the knee in Europe, not at Rush.
The icy relationship between Reinsdorf and Boras complicated matters, especially when Ordonez put more trust in his agent than his organization. But his departure didn’t have to be so contentious.
The White Sox could have wished him well, but instead they allowed their fans to see him as a selfish prima donna. That never really was Magglio. He’s a good, good guy.
The last conversation I had with him was about Robin Ventura being hired as the White Sox’s manager, and Ordonez was pumped. “He’s a great guy,’’ said Ordonez, the Tigers’ right fielder. “He’s a baseball guy ... He helped me a lot. He’s a guy who always helps everyone around him.’’
I said sure, but isn’t it just a wee bit nuts to hire a guy to manage a big-league team when he’s been idling in California for most of his seven years out of uniform, enjoying the good life?
“It’s just baseball,’’ Ordonez said.