Robin Ventura will be formally introduced as the White Sox’ new manager Tuesday morning at U.S. Cellular Field.
It’s been 13 years since No. 23 last wore a Sox uniform, so your Ventura memories might be a little fuzzy.
For younger White Sox fans that know little or nothing about Ventura, we are here to help.
So here we go...
From hit streak to draft day:
The Sox drafted Ventura in 1988 with the 10th overall pick.
The left-handed hitting third baseman was an All-American at Oklahoma State, and his 58-game hitting streak is still the NCAA Division I record.
Fool your friends with this trivia question:
Who ended Ventura’s hitting streak?
A: The Stanford pitching duo of starter Jack McDowell and reliever Al Osuna. Ventura was 0-for-4 in the 1987 College World Series.
Ventura and McDowell were White Sox teammates from 1990-94.
By the numbers:
Ventura played for the Sox from 1989-98 and batted .274. He still ranks sixth in franchise history with 171 home runs and eighth with 741 RBI.
Looking good in leather:
Ventura won five Gold Gloves with the White Sox.
The other streak:
As a rookie, Ventura suffered through an 0-for-41 hitless streak. Maybe he can pull Adam Dunn aside and say: “Been there, done that.”
He’s hot and cool:
Ventura is a Santa Maria native, and he epitomizes “California cool.”
But Ventura played with fire as a player, and that should spill over into his new role.
In 1993, Ventura charged the mound after being drilled by a Nolan Ryan pitch. He got the worst of the exchange, but at least Ventura had the guts to challenge Ryan.
A few years later, at Yankee Stadium, Ventura told teammate Frank Thomas to quit chirping at the umpires. When Thomas continued to complain, Ventura went after him in the dugout.
Using his martial arts skills, Sox outfielder Dave Martinez broke up the scuffle.
A ‘yes’ man he’s not
When Ventura was hired as the White Sox’ manager last Thursday, general manager Kenny Williams said didn’t want a “yes man” in the dugout.
Don’t worry Kenny.
In the spring of 1997, Ventura suffered the most gruesome injury I have ever seen live.
He made a routine slide into home plate during a Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox in Sarasota, Fla.
But Ventura’s right foot hit a hole, resulting in a fractured leg and dislocated ankle.
He was supposed to miss the season, but Ventura pushed his rehab and was ready for an August return.
The White Sox pulled off the “White Flag trade” right before the July 31 deadline, sending veteran pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin to the Giants for prospects.
The Sox were only 3½ games behind the first-place Indians at the time, and Ventura was livid.
“I didn’t know the season ended on Aug. 1,” he said.
A quick thinker
Ventura is one of the smartest players I’ve ever covered, and he again showed why last week.
When rattling off the managers he played for — and learned from — Ventura started with Jeff Torborg, moved on to Gene Lamont and then mentioned Jerry Manuel.
He also played for Terry Bevington between Lamont and Manuel, but let’s just say Ventura forgot to mention that.
A personal thank you to Ventura for making me aware of a California-based hamburger chain called In-N-Out Burger in 1994.
We’ll leave you with this story about his ability to spot an opportunity and maximize it’s potential.
When the White Sox used to hold spring training in Sarasota, I believe the year was 1996, young infielder Chris Snopek was using the clubhouse facilities before a Cactus League game.
Snopek’s wallet fell out on to the stall floor, and Ventura happened upon it.
Can’t remember what Snopek’s credit card limit was, but it’s safe to say Ventura pushed it by ordering about 100 pizzas that were waiting in the postgame clubhouse.
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