White Sox

Former White Sox GM Hemond honored

Former White Sox GM Hemond honored

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
1:14 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Longtime baseball executive Roland Hemond, who was the GM of the White Sox from 1970-85, was honored with the Buck ONeil Lifetime Achievement Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced.

The award was created in ONeils name in 2008, designated no more than once every three years and to recipients deemed to have made extraordinary efforts popularizing baseball in a manner comparable to the Negro League legend himself. Hemond is just the second winner of the honor.

Hemond, while currently a Arizona Diamondbacks executive, still associates himself very strongly with the White Sox, making routine appearances at gatherings such as SoxFest. While appearing there in January, he laughingly admitted having some second thoughts about coming because, in reference to his Diamondbacks pitching for the services of free agent Paul Konerko, You guys out-Konerkod us.

As White Sox GM, Hemond was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year in 1972 and 1983. The 1972 White Sox won 87 games and made a run at the American League West title, while the 1983 Winning Ugly team was a baseballs-best 99-63 in winning the West. Hemond was an executive advisor to Williams from 200-07, helping the White Sox in 2005 to its first World Series title in 88 years.

Hemond is responsible for a pension plan for MLB employees and creating the Arizona Fall League, credits cited by Jerry Reinsdorf on Tuesday. But the White Sox owner praised his former employee for much more than that.

The award is about even more than lasting accomplishments, Reinsdorf said. It also recognizes and honors the attitude, optimism, and positive approach Roland brought to the ballpark each and every day, and the wonderful friendships he has maintained within the game and literally thousands of baseball fans over the years.

Reinsdorfs words touch even my relationship with Roland. As someone who spent many years writing White Sox historical pieces for the team game program, Hemond was a valuable asset to call upon, a virtual encyclopedia of baseball history. When I sat at SoxFest 2007, peddling my Ozzie Guillen book to fellow fans a bit more interested in autographs and photographs, Hemond sat with me for much longer than he should have, sharing stories and telling tales. I joked that I owed him some commission on sales he was making on my behalf, but Im sure he knew that was somewhat akin to multiplying by zero.

Still, Roland, I owe you a check, or at least a hot dog sometime.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Prized White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn wraps up stint with USA Baseball

Prized White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn wraps up stint with USA Baseball

As the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Andrew Vaughn’s first full season in the minors this coming season will be one of the biggest storylines in the big picture of the White Sox rebuild in 2020.

Before that season begins for Vaughn, he got some international experience playing for USA Baseball at the Premier12 tournament. The Premier12 served as the first Olympic qualifying tournament.

Vaughn played in all eight games for the American team which was comprised of minor leaguers not currently on MLB 40-man rosters. He split time between first base and DH and was often in the middle of the order.

In eight games Vaughn hit .321/.367/.357. He had just one extra base hit, a double, in 30 plate appearances.

The lack of power might be somewhat concerning, but he certainly showed contact and on-base skills against quality, experienced competition.


As for USA Baseball, the team entered Saturday’s bronze medal game against Mexico knowing the winner would qualify for the Olympics. The Americans led 2-1 entering the ninth inning, but gave up a home run to send the game to extras. Mexico won with a bases-loaded walk-off single in the 10th.

The US still has two more chances to qualify for the Olympics. There is an Americas qualifying tournament in March and then a last chance tournament soon after that one. Those take place during spring training so it’s unclear if Vaughn would leave White Sox camp for that.

Tyler Johnson, a White Sox relief prospect, was on the initial roster for the tournament, but left the team due to a minor injury.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Jose Abreu accepts qualifying offer, returns to White Sox on one-year deal

Jose Abreu accepts qualifying offer, returns to White Sox on one-year deal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s almost like Jose Abreu never left.

He was only a free agent for a week and a half, Abreu bringing his brief time away from the White Sox to an end Thursday, when he accepted the qualifying offer of a one-year deal with $17.8 million.

It’s not the multi-year contract that was expected, but MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that the sides will continue to discuss a long-term pact. Still, the decision is a rare one, with Abreu becoming one of the few players ever to accept the qualifying offer. But he’ll get a nice payday for the 2020 season with a chance to do this whole free-agency thing again a year from now, if he chooses.

There was speculation that Abreu could accept the qualifying offer because of a potentially weak market for his services league-wide. If Abreu rejected the qualifying offer and things fell apart in discussing a multi-year deal with the White Sox, any team that signed him to a contract would have lost a draft pick in doing so. That deterred teams from signing free agents just in the last year, with Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel notably going unsigned until June.

Who knows if that — or just the desire to earn $17.8 million before a potential dip in his annual salary as he ages — had anything to do with Abreu’s decision, but it’s what was being speculated.

Regardless, the White Sox have their first baseman back, great news after he turned in one of the more productive seasons of his six-year big league career in 2019. Abreu led the American League with a career-best 123 RBIs and came three home runs shy of matching a career-high in that category, as well.

Abreu’s return always seemed a foregone conclusion, with the three-time All Star spending the entire 2019 season talking about how badly he wanted to remain on the South Side, going as far as to pledge that if the White Sox didn’t re-sign him, he’d sign himself to a contract and play here anyway.

The feeling was mutual, too, with general manager Rick Hahn, manager Rick Renteria and teammates praising Abreu as a model player and a mentor for the team’s young stars in the making. Eloy Jimenez said Abreu had been like a father during the rookie’s first season in the majors. Abreu revealed that team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told him he’d never wear another uniform.

He’s as giddy about the team’s future as anyone and has cited the planned shift into contention as the reason he wants to stick around. Tim Anderson said “it’s only right” that Abreu return for 2020, a season in which the long-awaited transition out of rebuilding mode could take place. Hahn said earlier this season that it’s “very likely” Abreu would be around for the franchise’s planned good times.

Abreu’s been incredibly productive at the plate, though his off-the-field contributions are just as important, of course, and he’s been a mentor to players like Jimenez and Yoan Moncada as they’ve gotten their first taste of the major leagues. Luis Robert, the organization’s No. 1 prospect, figures to find his way under Abreu’s wing when he reaches the bigs next season.

Abreu has long seemed to be held in the same esteem as players who have their numbers retired and statues standing at Guaranteed Rate Field, earning the title of “Mr. White Sox” for this generation. It’s no surprise the White Sox are keeping him in that role moving forward as they plan to start seeing brighter days on the South Side.

After capturing the RBI crown, Abreu made his final prediction of the 2019 campaign, saying he did believe he'd be back with the White Sox for 2020. It might not have been terribly difficult to be prescient in this case, but he was nonetheless.

"Everybody knows my wishes and my desire to stay here," he said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "This is an organization I respect. This is an organization I really honor.

"I want to be here, and you know guys, I’ve been telling you that. Hopefully I’m going to be here."

Hope no longer. It might not have gone down exactly as was expected, but Abreu isn't going anywhere.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.