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Lip Man 1
05-31-2010, 11:21 PM
Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day.

Since 2002 I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to speak with some individuals deeply connected with the White Sox franchise, from former players to field managers, members of the current front office to broadcasters as well as many members of the mainstream Chicago media.

Each one has had a story to tell.

That doesn’t mean though that every individual I’ve tried to interview has been available or willing to do so and I also haven’t been able to make a sizable dent in my “wish list.” That’s a group of individuals so steeped in the White Sox tradition and legacy that I’d give almost anything to have the chance to talk about their days on the South Side.

Some of that list includes people like Dick Allen, Carlton Fisk, Tony LaRussa, Luis Aparicio, “Jungle Jim” Rivera, Jerry Reinsdorf and others.

One name however that I now have been able to take off the list is former manager Jeff Torborg. Although he was only on the South Side for three seasons, his impact was enormous. Add to it the fact that the franchise got a new stadium at the same time only increased his significance. He was in large part the reason for the White Sox success from 1990 through 1994.

Torborg left under “unusual” circumstances, speculated by many over the past 20 years. In this interview with White Sox Interactive, Jeff frankly and clearly explains why he was made to feel he had to leave…but that’s not all he discusses. Among the issues that came up:


A deal turned down by Larry Himes that could have changed the destiny of two franchises, the White Sox and the Yankees.
His “premonition” that the Yankees Andy Hawkins would no hit the Sox, yet lose the game.
A phone call from Jerry Reinsdorf at the trade deadline of the 1990 season which history says may have contributed to the firing of Himes that September.
A candid assessment of what the White Sox of the early 1990’s lacked.
How comments from announcers and front office people may have contributed to his decision to leave the organization.
How he talked coach Ozzie Guillen out of quitting the Marlins and ending his post playing baseball career.
Describing, as the only man in baseball history can say, what it was like to catch Sandy Koufax (perfect game) and Nolan Ryan (no hitter) in their primes.
It was truly a wonderful experience talking with Jeff, one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever done. Here is the link to the interview:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3964

I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading his recollections.

Lip

ilsox7
05-31-2010, 11:53 PM
Incredible interview, as usual. The trade passed up . . . WOW!

Brian26
05-31-2010, 11:55 PM
Great work as always, Mark. It was interesting to read that Torborg came back for Game 1 of the World Series. Lots of great memories in that interview.

"Fisk, Kittle, Calderon...maybe"

WhiteSox5187
05-31-2010, 11:58 PM
Great interview as always. Also I got to have the "Hear it Now!" thing work on my Mac for a bit!

Noneck
06-01-2010, 12:23 AM
Outstanding interview again Lip.

I am a little confused on the situation that made Torborg leave the Sox. I understand that Schueler wanted his own guy but the part regarding Thigpen confuses me. Lamont came in 92 and Thigpen was still the Sox closer until at least mid year. If "management" wanted someone else to close, why was Thigpen given the job by Lamont at the start of year?

slavko
06-01-2010, 12:24 AM
That wasn't Hawk calling the clip from the Andy Hawkins 0-4 no-hitter, was it?

Lip Man 1
06-01-2010, 12:43 AM
Slavko:

Correct, it was the Sox radio broadcast, that was Wayne Hagin. My apologies.

Also just to note, cut #8 Alvarez's no hitter, also includes some of the on field post game interview with him. Asking the questions are Tom Paciorek and a representative from what was then known as Home Team Sports (HTS) the regional cable outlet that did the Orioles at that time. HTS eventually morphed into what is known today as the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

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Finally an addition to the interview that I was able to get after it had already been submitted to George Bova (Pale Hose George - the CEO, and founder of White Sox Interactive).

Jeff left for a month in Italy and I was able to speak with him briefly when he and his family returned to the States, right before they went to visit other relatives in New Jersey. I asked Jeff if Larry Himes ever explained why he turned down that deal with the Yankees that would have netted the Sox Hal Morris and Bernie Williams.

Jeff said he never remembered anything specific but he thinks it may have been because Himes never liked to trade starting pitchers. King had a spectacular 1990 season but then Himes traded him anyway for Cory Snyder, who because of some circumstances beyond his control, only lasted three months with the Sox. King never had another season like 1990 and was out of baseball by 1993.

Lip

Lip Man 1
06-01-2010, 12:51 AM
No Neck:

I can't answer that one, maybe someday if I get Gene Lamont I can.

I had heard over the years that the Thigpen situation was part of the reason for Jeff leaving. If you go back and re-read Donn Pall's interview I mention it to him... Pall strongly defended the way Jeff used Bobby and explained what may have contributed to his demise as a pitcher.

I didn't know about Bobby's back injury either until the interview when Jeff talked about it, that also may have had a part.

Why Ron Schueler, Farmer and Monroe may have backed off on wanting Radinsky as a closer when Lamont became manager I can't say.

Lip

JB98
06-01-2010, 02:05 AM
Excellent job, Lip.

The interview brought back a lot of great memories from the last year at the old ballpark. The 1990 club is still among my favorite Sox teams to this day. Well done.

SI1020
06-01-2010, 10:44 AM
It's such an interesting interview in so many ways I hardly know where to begin. I find it interesting that Torborg insisted his players practice fundamentals. You should never stop teaching no matter what level you or your subordinates are.

Paulwny
06-01-2010, 12:12 PM
Another great interview Lip, plus it cleared up the speculation on the Bernie Williams trade.

tstrike2000
06-01-2010, 12:19 PM
Nice work on the interview and though I was young at the time, my dad and I always thought Torborg was a really good manager and perhaps the best Sox manager of the last 30 or so years.

LITTLE NELL
06-01-2010, 01:21 PM
Great interview.
Managers we should have never fired or let go; LaRussa and Torborg.

asindc
06-01-2010, 01:32 PM
Great interview.
Managers we should have never fired or let go; LaRussa and Torborg.

Agreed. I always thought Torborg left because he wanted to move closer to NY to be with his family. I do remember him saying something similar to that, but maybe that was to just save face. I really liked both him and LaRussa as managers. In fact, LaRussa's firing was the first of many reasons I had for resenting JR. At least JR later admitted it was a mistake to fire him. I have always wondered what 92, 93, and 94 would have been like if Torborg was still the manager.

Madvora
06-01-2010, 02:06 PM
This is a great read. Nice job. I always liked Torborg and I think he's great as an announcer too.

Everything talked about in this article brings back such great memories of my childhood with the Sox. That Sox-As rivalry was huge back then!

tsoxman
06-01-2010, 02:23 PM
Wow, Lip terrific stuff!!

I always had a fealing that Torborg was forced out....

It seems as though Reinsdorf was dissapointed in both Himes and Schueler for not being more aggressive with trade deadline deals to reinforce pennant runs...One question... why wasn't Jerry as equally aggressive with acquiring free agents in the early nineties when he had what I thought was the best a group of core players in the 45 years that I have followed the team?

Crestani
06-01-2010, 02:31 PM
Lip;
Once again, great interview and very informative.

TheOldRoman
06-01-2010, 02:55 PM
Agreed. I always thought Torborg left because he wanted to move closer to NY to be with his family. I do remember him saying something similar to that, but maybe that was to just save face. I really liked both him and LaRussa as managers. In fact, LaRussa's firing was the first of many reasons I had for resenting JR. At least JR later admitted it was a mistake to fire him. I have always wondered what 92, 93, and 94 would have been like if Torborg was still the manager. I am too young to remember this situation, but I thought the story was that Hawk the GM wanted LaRussa out? How did that go down? I know that JR and TLR are good friends, and a Lip has said before, had discussed Tony coming back in 1998.

Lip Man 1
06-01-2010, 03:24 PM
Roman:

True, Hawk and Tony did not get along. Basically it was a situation like with Torborg / Schueler. Ron wanted to hire his own guy. Hawk wanted to hire his own guy. Some of the things Hawk did (adding additional coaches for example) caused friction between the parties. It just wasn't a good mix.

According to Dave Nightengale then with The Sporting News in a full page story before the start of the 1998 season, supposedly JR and Tony had met for dinner and agreed to a deal. Tony would be given a multi year contract, Dave Duncan would be brought back also with a multi year deal and Tony would be given authority on player decisions. JR according to the story let Ron know what was about to happen and Schueler basically told JR it was either Tony or himself but he didn't care for the idea of Tony having that much authority on the roster / acquisitions etc. JR agreed with Ron and the deal collapsed.

I have never been able to get anybody either on or off the record to discuss this, acknowledge this or even talk about it so I don't know for sure what went on.

TSoxman:

I can only guess at your question and I assume it had something to do with the labor situation, the owners general stance or it and so on. JR was on the very influential and powerful committee that advised the commissioner on labor issues, maybe he thought it wouldn't look good if he was going out and signing free agent's to large deals.

Lip

Frater Perdurabo
06-01-2010, 10:19 PM
Another outstanding interview, Lip.