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32nd&Wallace
06-23-2007, 04:10 PM
Hi - I am over 20 years old and barely remember Hawk's stint as GM. Can someone give me some background as to why he was hired, what he did that was so horrible and why he was fired in just a year, where did he go for two years and why did he come back to broadcast in 1990. Specfically, why the heck did JR think it was a good idea to hire someone with no baseball executive experience?

soxfan80
06-23-2007, 04:25 PM
:reinsy

Let's just say I'm an idiot on this one.

michned
06-23-2007, 05:26 PM
Hi - I am over 20 years old and barely remember Hawk's stint as GM. Can someone give me some background as to why he was hired, what he did that was so horrible and why he was fired in just a year, where did he go for two years and why did he come back to broadcast in 1990. Specfically, why the heck did JR think it was a good idea to hire someone with no baseball executive experience?

I believe at the end of the '85 season Reinsdorf had meetings with key employees about how the club could be improved. Hawk basically came in to the meeting with a plan - an outline, etc. Almost as if he were campaigning for the GM job. Anyway, Reinsdorf liked his passion and hired him.

That may be an oversimplification but that is how it started.

Lorenzo Barcelo
06-23-2007, 05:29 PM
Ah yes, the Reign of Error.

dickallen15
06-23-2007, 05:40 PM
The 1985 team was decent, not great. Also in 1985 the Sox first round draft selection was Kurt Brown. Barry Bonds was selected next. Hawk really didn't want the job, he had to take a paycut from the booth, but he took it because Jerry and Eddie really wanted him to do it. He was no world beater, but that team was doomed. Britt Burns won 18 games in 2005. Hawk traded him to NY and Burns had problems with a hip which didn't allow him to throw another major league pitch. Tom Seaver won 16 games in 2005, but he wined in spring training about wanting to be out east and eventually was traded when he was 2-6. Bob James was a lights out closer in 1985, but his ERA more than doubled in 1986. The most imfamous thing Hawk did was try to make Carlton Fisk a LF. He eventually realized his erra as he would say and quit the experiment. He also fired Tony LaRusa which from what I heard came from Hawk's insistence that Dave Duncan be fired and LaRussa would have nothing to do with it. He did acquire Bobby Bonilla in the rule 5 draft, only to trade him back to Pittsburgh a couple of months into the season for Jose DeLeon. DeLeon was eventually used to acquire Lance Johnson (not by Hawk), so that wasn't really that bad. He also traded for Ivan Calderon, who was pretty good with the Sox and was eventually turned into Tim Raines, and came very close to acquiring Andre Dawson. So close, Dawson took batting practice one game for Montreal with a White Sox cap on. He did have problems with the media which he later did say was all his fault. It really wasn't a great tenure, but it was far from as horrible as a lot make it. The 1986 White Sox were not going to be a good team no matter who was GM that season.

Lip Man 1
06-23-2007, 05:59 PM
Two items:

1. "Eddie and I would talk to Hawk and (Don) Drysdale at length, and Hawk more so, to identify problems in the organization, we were still neophytes in this business and we were impressed with the way Hawk pointed out our problems. [GM] wasn't something he really wanted him to do, but we urged him to help us out. The mistake was that when you go to a doctor who diagnoses open-heart surgery, you don't have him do the surgery because he diagnosed the problem, you get a heart surgeon. Just because Hawk was able to diagnose our problems did not mean he could solve them. It was a terrible position to put him in, and a year later, he said he wanted out." – Jerry Reinsdorf to the Chicago Tribune’s Melissa Issacson. May 28, 2004.

2. A portion of an upcoming audio interactive piece for WSI on the White Sox of the 1980's. (PHG will release the entire story when he feels it's time...)

The ‘Hawk’ Harrelson Era

Roland Hemond was removed as Sox G.M. on October 2, 1985. The specific reasons for the change may never be known. What is known and the first indication that changes might be coming was when Hemond was asked to attend a meeting with Sox ownership late in the 1985 season. He gave his plans for 1986 during it. Afterwards while making ‘small talk’ with ownership, Hemond noticed that Harrelson had pulled up, apparently for his meeting.

Harrelson got the job despite never having held any management positions in his career. One of the first things he did was implement a plan for bolstering the minor league system. Hawk’s idea was that all minor league instructors should have been former major league players. So that’s who he hired...many of them had never held a coaching position in their lives. Hawk hired Moe Drabowski to be the White Sox relief pitching coach despite the fact that the Sox already had a pitching coach in Dave Duncan. He hired broadcaster Don Drysdale as the team’s pitching ‘consultant’ in addition to his play by play duties.

The changes led to an air of tension between him and manager Tony LaRussa. LaRussa would eventually get fired by Harrelson in June 1986 after approval by Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf, years later, would say giving the approval was the ‘second worst’ decision he ever made with the Sox.

(Author’s Note: When asked what the biggest ‘bad’ decision was, Reinsdorf said it was hiring Harrelson as G.M. in the first place.)

Harrelson also took steps changing the team on the field. He wanted to make room for ‘can’t miss’ catching prospect Joel Skinner who had been languishing in the minor leagues. But what to do with current All Star catcher Carlton Fisk? Simple, said Hawk, he can play left field. A decision that didn’t go over well with Fisk, who was back behind the plate by June. (Author’s Note: In fact if you look up Fisk in the 1986 White Sox Press-Radio-TV guide he’s listed as an outfielder!)

Harrelson made moves acquiring players like Neil Allen, Joe Cowley, Dave Schmidt, Wayne Tolleson , Bryan Clark, Brian Giles and Steve McCatty and you have to give him credit for trying, but the team was much worse on the field in 1986 then the previous season, ending it at 72-90, a drop of 13 games.

What happened afterwards was incredible even by White Sox standards. Harrelson resigned shortly after the season. Was it a case of him realizing his limitations? Was he forced out? Again no one knows for sure.

On July 25, 1987 during NBC’s ‘Game Of The Week’ from Comiskey Park, announcer Bob Costas quizzed Eddie Einhorn about the entire Harrelson situation, the job he did and why he left. LET ME HEAR IT! Courtesy: NBC Sports.

As far as Reinsdorf’s take on it, on May 28, 2004 the Sox owner said this to the Chicago Tribune’s Melissa Issacson. "Eddie and I would talk to Hawk and (Don) Drysdale at length, and Hawk more so, to identify problems in the organization... we were still neophytes in this business and we were impressed with the way Hawk pointed out our problems. [GM] wasn't something he really wanted him to do, but we urged him to help us out. The mistake was that when you go to a doctor who diagnoses open-heart surgery, you don't have him do the surgery because he diagnosed the problem, you get a heart surgeon. Just because Hawk was able to diagnose our problems did not mean he could solve them. It was a terrible position to put him in, and a year later, he said he wanted out."

The Sox named Larry Himes the new G.M. on October 29, 1986. He spent fourteen years in the Angels organization and would do a magnificent job of rebuilding the minor league system with picks like Jack McDowell, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez before relationship problems with ownership led to his firing late in the 1990 season.

Lip

beckett21
06-23-2007, 06:10 PM
Thank you Lip.

Himes is often a forgotten man. He really did a helluva job while he was here cleaning up that mess.

Brian26
06-23-2007, 06:11 PM
Liptak rules.

We talked to Rich Dotson at Soxfest 2003 for about an hour. He joked about Drysdale being the special pitching consultant during the '85 season. I think there was respect for Drysdale, but the fact that he was in that position was sort of a head-turner.

Lip Man 1
06-23-2007, 06:14 PM
Guys...no problem. This is what I do.

:smile:

When George releases that entire retrospective piece I think you will really enjoy it.

Lip

StillMissOzzie
06-23-2007, 09:32 PM
The 1985 team was decent, not great. Also in 1985 the Sox first round draft selection was Kurt Brown. Barry Bonds was selected next. Hawk really didn't want the job, he had to take a paycut from the booth, but he took it because Jerry and Eddie really wanted him to do it. He was no world beater, but that team was doomed. Britt Burns won 18 games in 2005. Hawk traded him to NY and Burns had problems with a hip which didn't allow him to throw another major league pitch. Tom Seaver won 16 games in 2005, but he whined in spring training...

No wonder we won the World Series in 2005, we had those two guys AND Buehrle, Contreras, Garcia, & Garland on the pitching staff!

SMO
:D:

Oblong
06-23-2007, 09:44 PM
Didn't Hawk also push Hemond's protege out the door? A guy who went on to have great success with Montreal, Florida, and now Detroit? I think that may have been his biggest blunder in terms of hurting the franchise.

There was an hour special on Dombrowski on our FSN channel and Dave talked about his time in Chicago. I don't remember if he was fired or left after finding a job with Montreal but I do recall him saying that he told Hemond that he just couldn't do it anymore. Hawk wanted him to fire a bunch of non baseball staffers. Hemond told him to never ever quit a job in baseball. He'd have to eventually fire people as a GM so he may as well learn from it and that you can learn as much on what not to do by sticking around. At the end of the show they had a nice photo of Hemond with Leyland, Dombrowski, and La Russa, taken from a World Series game last year.

nsolo
06-23-2007, 09:55 PM
Hi - I am over 20 years old and barely remember Hawk's stint as GM. Can someone give me some background as to why he was hired, what he did that was so horrible and why he was fired in just a year, where did he go for two years and why did he come back to broadcast in 1990. Specfically, why the heck did JR think it was a good idea to hire someone with no baseball executive experience?

The same logic has been used for years within the Sox organization. Just look at our list of past and present field manager.

Brian26
06-23-2007, 10:25 PM
He also traded for Ivan Calderon, who was pretty good with the Sox and was eventually turned into Tim Raines, and came very close to acquiring Andre Dawson. So close, Dawson took batting practice one game for Montreal with a White Sox cap on.

I've seen this posted here a couple of times in the past. I'd love to see more information on this, i.e. who was rumored to be involved in the trade, exactly what time of the season this was being talked about, and of course any photos of Dawson with the old Sox cap on.

WhiteSox5187
06-23-2007, 11:28 PM
Didn't Hawk also push Hemond's protege out the door? A guy who went on to have great success with Montreal, Florida, and now Detroit? I think that may have been his biggest blunder in terms of hurting the franchise.

There was an hour special on Dombrowski on our FSN channel and Dave talked about his time in Chicago. I don't remember if he was fired or left after finding a job with Montreal but I do recall him saying that he told Hemond that he just couldn't do it anymore. Hawk wanted him to fire a bunch of non baseball staffers. Hemond told him to never ever quit a job in baseball. He'd have to eventually fire people as a GM so he may as well learn from it and that you can learn as much on what not to do by sticking around. At the end of the show they had a nice photo of Hemond with Leyland, Dombrowski, and La Russa, taken from a World Series game last year.
You nailed it. Had Hemond not been fired and replaced by Hawk, Dombrowski would have taken Hemond's place and we would have won several more titles before 2005. David Dombrowski has won everywhere he has gone, firing him was actually part of the reason that JR started to question Hawk. Hawk did that without consulting JR and JR offered Dombrowski his job back, Dombrowski declined (it'd be hard to work under a guy who just tried to fire you) but JR keeped him on the payroll until he found a new job...which he did within a week with Montreal. David built Montreal into a pretty good team (they were giving the Cubs headaches for the NL East in 1989) and then built Florida out of scratch getting them a title in 1997 and laying the roots for another one in 2003.

After Hawk fired Mr. Dombrowski JR asked Mike Squires (who was working with the team in some capacity) what other people around the league thought of what the Sox were doing, to which Squires replied "They think you're running a ****ing zoo." By firing Hemond we lost Tony LaRussa and David Dombrowski...just a terrible move by JR. Terrible. It set the organization back years.

I should probably also mention that Mr. Dombrowski is a good friend of the family.

Lip Man 1
06-24-2007, 12:45 PM
More from Dombrowski (who was hired by Hemond after showing up at the Sox offices as a college student looking for any type of baseball work--Roland was that impressed with the kid...)

"Jerry Reinsdorf always treated me well when I worked for the White Sox organization. Most people that work for Jerry would express the same sentiments.

Jerry Reinsdorf was extremely supportive of me at this time, and actually gave me the opportunity to re-enter the organization. However, it did not seem to be the appropriate thing, since my dismissal was based upon philosophical differences with Ken Harrelson. So Jerry offered me the opportunity to be paid by the White Sox organization until I found another job. He did not set any time limits on this even though their was no signed contract between the organization and me.

He continued to carry me on the benefits package that the White Sox organization had and continued to help me in whatever fashion he could." – Dave Dombrowski (current G.M. of the Detroit Tigers) to Dan Helpingstein. From the book ‘Through Hope And Despair’ by Dan Helpingstein. Pgs. 207-208. Published 2001.

Lip

soxfan80
06-24-2007, 01:00 PM
You nailed it. Had Hemond not been fired and replaced by Hawk, Dombrowski would have taken Hemond's place and we would have won several more titles before 2005. David Dombrowski has won everywhere he has gone, firing him was actually part of the reason that JR started to question Hawk. Hawk did that without consulting JR and JR offered Dombrowski his job back, Dombrowski declined (it'd be hard to work under a guy who just tried to fire you) but JR keeped him on the payroll until he found a new job...which he did within a week with Montreal. David built Montreal into a pretty good team (they were giving the Cubs headaches for the NL East in 1989) and then built Florida out of scratch getting them a title in 1997 and laying the roots for another one in 2003.

After Hawk fired Mr. Dombrowski JR asked Mike Squires (who was working with the team in some capacity) what other people around the league thought of what the Sox were doing, to which Squires replied "They think you're running a ****ing zoo." By firing Hemond we lost Tony LaRussa and David Dombrowski...just a terrible move by JR. Terrible. It set the organization back years.

I should probably also mention that Mr. Dombrowski is a good friend of the family.There's no telling if the sox would have won with dombrowski. I'm not saying him as gm would be a bad thing, but would he have drafted frank and the other guys we got since we were craptacular under hawk and rebuilding under himes?

downstairs
06-24-2007, 02:49 PM
Not sure if it was mentioned, but after he left he went into the booth for the Yankees. Obviously that did not work out (no way NY fans would relate to his style). He then came back "home" in '90

TDog
06-24-2007, 03:31 PM
There's no telling if the sox would have won with dombrowski. I'm not saying him as gm would be a bad thing, but would he have drafted frank and the other guys we got since we were craptacular under hawk and rebuilding under himes?

Thomas was the best player available at the time. He was more highly rated than some players that were picked before him. Dombrowski probably would have picked Thomas, because it was a surprise Thomas was still available for the No. 7 pick.

Ben McDonald was the consensus No. 1 in the 1989 draft, and he was taken by the Orioles. The Braves took Tyler Houston, a catcher from a high school in Las Vegas. The Mariners took Roger Salkeld. The Phillies took Jeff Jackson, a Chicago high school pitcher who never made it to the big leagues. The Rangers took Donald Harris, a local product. The Cardinals took Paul Coleman, a high school outfielder out of Texas. Frank Thomas wasn't supposed to be available at No. 7, and the White Sox anxiously grabbed him. Thomas could have gone No. 3. He should have gone no lower than No. 4. Why the Cardinals didn't pick him up is a mystery to me.

Aside from McDonald and Thomas, there weren't many college stars that year. The Cubs, picking eighth, chose high school pitcher Earl Cunningham. The Angels took Kyle Abbott No. 9. The Brewers chose Cal Eldred with the 17th pick. The Red Sox took Mo Vaughn with the 23rd pick, and the Astros took Todd Jones with the 27th pick.

Some people at WSI have speculated about what the White Sox would have looked like if they had acquired Barry Bonds before the 1987 season. It could have meant enough wins to move the Sox down in the draft order. Maybe the Cubs would have been picking seventh when Frank Thomas was available. I don't know, though, really how high the Cubs were on Paul Cunningham.

soxfan80
06-25-2007, 08:48 AM
Thomas was the best player available at the time. He was more highly rated than some players that were picked before him. Dombrowski probably would have picked Thomas, because it was a surprise Thomas was still available for the No. 7 pick.

Ben McDonald was the consensus No. 1 in the 1989 draft, and he was taken by the Orioles. The Braves took Tyler Houston, a catcher from a high school in Las Vegas. The Mariners took Roger Salkeld. The Phillies took Jeff Jackson, a Chicago high school pitcher who never made it to the big leagues. The Rangers took Donald Harris, a local product. The Cardinals took Paul Coleman, a high school outfielder out of Texas. Frank Thomas wasn't supposed to be available at No. 7, and the White Sox anxiously grabbed him. Thomas could have gone No. 3. He should have gone no lower than No. 4. Why the Cardinals didn't pick him up is a mystery to me.

Aside from McDonald and Thomas, there weren't many college stars that year. The Cubs, picking eighth, chose high school pitcher Earl Cunningham. The Angels took Kyle Abbott No. 9. The Brewers chose Cal Eldred with the 17th pick. The Red Sox took Mo Vaughn with the 23rd pick, and the Astros took Todd Jones with the 27th pick.

Some people at WSI have speculated about what the White Sox would have looked like if they had acquired Barry Bonds before the 1987 season. It could have meant enough wins to move the Sox down in the draft order. Maybe the Cubs would have been picking seventh when Frank Thomas was available. I don't know, though, really how high the Cubs were on Paul Cunningham.from old baseball cards and prospect guides, it appeared that NL teams thought he would have been a defensive liability.

soxinem1
06-25-2007, 11:35 AM
Hawk did implement a few interesting, and good things.

1. He was the first GM in modern memory to be a major part of the team's marketing. 'The Hawk wants you' is branded into every White Sox fan's memory who was following the team during this time, like the stamp on the behind of a steer.

2. Hawk initiated the every Saturday Fireworks Night for 6pm home games.

3. Hawk had the dimensions of Comiskey Park verified, and errors were found. He then had the plate adjusted, removing the eight foot push that was done for the 1983 season that led to a bunch of roofshot HR's.

4. Hawk implemented a curious coaching strategy that lasted about two months. He added a power hitting coach, Willie Horton, to coach the HR (the few we had, actually) hitters, Moe Drabowsky as the relief pitching coach to supplant Dave Duncan, who would be primarily responsible for the starters.

5. Hawk also stated repeatedly that he was not the GM, but actually went through most of the season as the GM, until he hired Tom Haller in mid-summer 1986. Funny thing is, that Hawk was the one at all the press conferences during the flurry of player movement that year.

6. The White Sox had, I believe, 46 players wear the big league uniform that year.

7. Hawk drafted Grady Hall from Northwestern #1 and immediately started him in AAA. He never made it to the majors, but Hawk did draft Scott Radinsky and Craig Grebeck in 1986.

8. Hawk had Ron Hassey involved in three trades before he ever played a game for the White Sox.

9. Turned one trade many ripped apart into one of his best. Britt Burns, who during the 1985 season wanted a contract extension, did an about face and asked to be traded closer to the east coast after Hawk became GM. Hawk obliged Hoss, and traded him for what was essentially Hassey, Joe Cowley, Neil Allen, Carlos Martinez, and Scott Bradley. All for a guy who never threw an inning for the NYY.

10. The 1986 White Sox were one of the few teams to have it's entire starting lineup dismanted by the end of the season, either by trade, lack of performance, or injury, and to have almost all the coaches either dismissed/reassigned by year end. The starting rotation, led by Tom Seaver in ST, had only one guy make all of his assigned starts, and that was Richard Dotson, who Hawk made sure to note at least a dozen times in ST that he would not be counted on.

1986 was also the last year Harold Baines would be an everyday OF, and Dotson himself would flirt with immortality, as he was five outs away from a perfect game before getting lit up in a span of five minutes by the NYY.

Such a small piece of team history 1986 was, but it definitely was one of the least boring, despite the crappy performance of the team.

Fenway
06-25-2007, 11:50 AM
I had an interesting exchange with Hawk in 1986

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=288968&postcount=23


and Lip found this article 3 years ago

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=29070&highlight=hawk%2C+fisk+%2C+tribune

soxinem1
06-25-2007, 12:15 PM
I had an interesting exchange with Hawk in 1986

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=288968&postcount=23


and Lip found this article 3 years ago

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=29070&highlight=hawk%2C+fisk+%2C+tribune

I was at that game against BOS. Cowley couldn't find a strike on the side of a barn, and was sent to AAA right afterwards. To take his place, they signed Bill Dawley who was recently cut by HOU.

I also vividly remember Tim Lollar's peformance that day. It was his last major league win and start, and he also couldn't find the strike zone, but his slider kept our guys lunging everywhere.

TDog
06-25-2007, 03:44 PM
from old baseball cards and prospect guides, it appeared that NL teams thought he would have been a defensive liability.


I'm sure you're right, but there are plenty of defensive liabilities in the National League. Paul Konerko was drafted in the first round in 1994 by the Dodgers, despite his huge defensive shortcomings as a catcher at his Scottsdale high school. Carlos Lee has played for more National League teams than American League teams because he is a good hitter. For that matter, the Sox drafted Bobby Thigpen in the fourth round of the 1985 draft even though he was a DH at Mississippi State and a .330 hitter in the Alaska Summer League and they didn't even expect him to hit.

Thomas, of course, was a better hitter in his prime than Carlos Lee ever will be. It was a mistake for NL teams to overlook Thomas in the draft. Not that I have a problem with the way things worked out, leaving Thomas available for the Sox to pick up.

When Ted Williams tried out for the Cardinals about three decades before there was a major league draft, the Cardinals turned him down because he didn't have enough speed. Imagine how Ted Williams and Stan Musial would have clogged up the bases had they been hitting back-to-back.

All things considered, I still don't see why the Cardinals didn't take Frank Thomas.