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Jerry's Top 10 Victims

Who pays the price for General Disarray's leadership?

More than once the past week, members of the sports media have said, “Now he’s a genius, but just a few short weeks ago Sox fans wanted to run [Gen. Disarray] out of town.”  Are the only people those media types listen to themselves?  The consensus among the Sox fans we’ve been hearing from is that the Sox are winning despite the general. 

This past week the general managed to pull Jon Garland in the sixth inning with none out and a man on first with a 6-3 lead and watched the bullpen implode.  In that game Tom Gordon threw about forty pitches, and the general warmed him up the next day, and then on Wednesday brought him out to finish a game that the Sox led by four runs.  He gave up three. 

The fact remains that Gen. Disarray cannot manage a pitching staff.  It got so bad that on Tuesday both Garland and Gordon, echoing Rick White but going through the correct protocol.  The question is, will this prevent them from being added to the general’s Enemies List.  This list was duly noted by Sox fan Mark Guziec, who compiled a list of players upon whom Manuel has inflicted his wrath. .   

Mark, you now have the floor. 

-------- 

Jerry Manuel’s Top 10 Victims 

The following players were either grossly misused, severely screwed over, or just a blatant example of why Jerry Manual is a miserable excuse for a Major League manager. 

10)  Sean Lowe.  A quality long reliever who wished to be promoted to the starting rotation.  In 1999, he pitched very well all year.  Instead of being rewarded with a start on the last day of the season, he got to watch AAA lifer Tanyon Sturtze get the start he deserved.  Lowe finally forced his way into the rotation in 2001.  He wasn’t Cy Young, but Sox wish they could get that kind of production from the 5th starter today.  After 11 starts, Lowe was demoted back to the bullpen because he was 30 and the Sox wanted to look Danny Wright and Gary Glover.  Sean Lowe is proof that Jerry Manuel will not reward players who produce unless they also fit some preconceived image. 

9)   Ray Durham.  On the last day on the 1998 season, Ray Durham was tied for the lead league in runs scored with Derek Jeter.  Manuel benched Durham to play Craig Wilson.  Derek Jeter scored a run that day to give him the title.  The White Sox off hitter that day scored 2 runs.  Only an idiot for a manager would be unaware that one of his players had a chance to lead the league in a significant category like runs scored 

8)   Harold Baines.  It was clear to everybody in the world except clueless Jerry that Baines could no longer hit in 2001.  That did not stop Manuel from starting him everyday after Thomas got hurt.  If Baines himself hadn’t gotten hurt, Lord knows how long it would have taken clueless Jerry to mercifully pull the plug on Baines. 

7)   Mark Buehrle.  In 2001, Labor Day weekend, the Sox had 4 games with division leading Cleveland.  Sox needed at least 3 out of 4 to stay in the race.  Rotation ace Mark Buehrle did not start any games in this do or die series.  Only an idiot for a manager would not field his best possible team against his archrival in the heat of a pennant race. 

5)   Keith Foulke.  The AL’s best reliever from 1999-2001 according to Elias Sports Bureau.  Yet, this wasn’t good enough to save Foulke from almost a year long demotion to mop up duty after a poor start in 2002.  Had he gotten 10% of the second chance Billy Koch has gotten this year, he would have reclaimed the closer’s job and have gotten 30 saves.  Then maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t get traded for Billy Koch.  Let’s not also forget that Manuel kept alive a rumor that Foulke would be tried as a starter.  Foulke never got his promised start.  Instead, he just got confused on what his role would be. 

6)   Kip Wells.  He has been a tough luck pitcher for the Pirates.  However his ERA has been very respectable.  3.58 last year, 3.63 so far this year.  It’s not Cy Young, but it’s light years ahead of what the Sox have been using as a 5th starter.  Wells would be the Sox 5th starter now if Manuel didn’t do everything he could to destroy Wells confident.  Wells last year with the Sox, Manuel would always pull Wells at the first sign of trouble.  The year before that, he tried to force feed Wells into a #2 starter despite being just a rookie.  Luckily for Wells, Manuel’s gross mishandling got him traded to Pittsburgh before Manuel was able to completely destroy his career. 

4)   Jim Parque.  Parque is cruising along in Game 1 of the 2000 playoffs.  He retired the last 10 batters in a row.  Yet he doesn’t start the 7th because his pitch count is almost at 100.  The bullpen gives up the lead, and the White Sox are swept.  Manuel continues to be obsessed with the 100-pitch mark.  Rarely will he allow a pitcher to go over it.  When he does, it’s almost always the pitchers last inning of work.  The only pitcher that was ever allowed to go over the 100-pitch mark on a consistent basis was David Wells.  That’s only because Wells intimated jerry Manuel. 

3)   Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken.  They never played for Jerry Manuel, but if they had, they wouldn’t be known as Iron Men.  They wouldn’t have made it through April before Manuel would have given them a day off.  Who can forget how Manuel was giving everybody the day off during that lousy road trip before the All-Star break?  I would think with two off days and the All-Star break coming up, guys like Ordonez and Thomas and Alomar and Everett could have survived without the additional rest. 

2)   Frank Thomas.  Manuel became the White Sox manager in 1998.  What a coincidence that Frank Thomas’ problems started in 1998.  Thomas DH’ed full time in 1998 and had his first sub par year.  The stats showed he hits much better when playing the field.  Yet, Manuel ignored the stats because he wanted a long look and Wil Cordero and Greg Norton.  Manuel did it again this year.  Playing 1B reawakened Thomas’ bat.  Yet he couldn’t wait to get Konerko back at 1B.  Manuel just ignored the Thomas slump that followed. 

1)   The Fans.  Jerry Manuel can’t handle a pitching staff.  He constantly tinkers with his lineup.  He overplays the lefty-righty advantage.  He mistreats the greatest hitter in White Sox history.  He won’t reward productive players unless they fit a certain image.  Because of this, the White Sox fans have seen their team underachieve each of the past three seasons.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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