Black Jack McDowell is back, and he has thoughts
Jack McDowell was back on the South Side on Thursday night, appearing at U.S. Cellular Field's ChiSox Bar & Grill (formerly Bacardi at the Park) for a promotional appearance.
McDowell was a starting pitcher for the White Sox from 1987-88 and 1990-94. In '93, "Black Jack" went 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA and won the American League Cy Young Award.
Now 48, McDowell is preparing for his first professional job as manager, with the Rookie League Ogden Raptors in the Dodgers' system.
The three-time all-star always had a lot to say as a player, and the same holds true today:
Q: How did the managing job come about?
A: It was a little bit out of the blue. I was scheduled to go to spring training as a special instructor with the Dodgers' big-league club and kind of travel around this summer and see if I wanted to get back into it.
This opportunity came up, and they threw it by me. I'm fired up about it.
Q: Do you have any managing experience at any level?
A: I've been coaching my kids, basically since I retired (in 1999), and I coached the last five years at the high school level.
Q: Do you have any interest in managing in the major leagues?
A: I'll let you know at the end of this season. To tell you the truth, coming into this season I didn't have any kind of managing aspirations. I love teaching; I love baseball. I didn't know what was going to work out.
At the winter meetings, I actually talked to (former White Sox manager) Gene Lamont about it, and he said, 'If you're going to do it, go feet first and just go for it.' I'm going to love it.
The lower you are in the minor leagues, the more actual teaching you're doing. I love teaching the game.
Q: You still follow the Sox. How much better will they be this season?
A: They should be better … should be. You're not going to go through another season where so many guys don't do what you expect them to do.
Q: You won the Cy Young; can Chris Sale?
A: Absolutely. He's nasty. It's weird, if I was playing nowadays, there's no way I would win the Cy Young because of the way they look at numbers now, the sabermetrics and whatever else they're doing.
You know what? Winning games is winning games, and that's still the most important thing to me.
Q: Was there any doubt ex-teammate Frank Thomas was a first-ballot Hall of Famer?
A: Nah. He was one of the most dangerous hitters of his time. He was a guy you did not want to face. It wasn't just about power; it was about this guy's going to get hits. There wasn't a certain way you could pitch him.
Q: You've been outspoken about suspected PED users and the Hall of Fame. Why?
A: I just think it's too bad that only the handful of guys take the brunt of it from everybody. Meanwhile, a ton of other guys were into it. You can't fix the other part, the players who (Hall of Fame voters) say are clean.
All of us who were around kind of smirk at each other. There are guys in there (HOF) already that everyone knows (weren't clean). It's part of the deal.
Unless you're going to use a lie detector on everybody, you're never going to know who did and who didn't.
Q: What about Ozzie Guillen. Will he manage again?
A: I think it's his choice. If he wanted to get back into it, he would be interviewing.
Ozzie's a baseball guy, and he's good for the game. I look back on my career and I teach and coach a lot of the stuff I learned from Ozzie -- baserunning, defense, positioning, all kinds of stuff.
Q: Any regrets about some of those White Sox teams from the early 1990s not winning a World Series (the '94 season was wiped out by a strike)?
A: Yeah. But the core wasn't held together long enough. Had we stayed together for three more years, we might have gotten one. But it didn't happen, and I was kind of the first one out the door and things didn't go well for them for a decade after that.
Q: This is going to be Paul Konerko's last season. How will he be regarded in franchise history?
A: He's definitely one of the best White Sox ever. Go look at it. An entire generation of White Sox fans are going to remember him as the guy.