Kenny Williams (GM)

Kenny Williams (GM)

Lead the 2005 chicago White Sox to their first world series title since 1917

Kenneth Royal Williams  is a former outfielder turned front office General Manager who lead the Chicago White Sox to the 2005 World Series. Williams has become known for his aggressive moves to bolster the Sox lineup.

Williams graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in East San Jose, California in 1982; while in high school, he excelled in football. He also played football at Stanford University before leaving to become a professional baseball player. Contrary to some reports, he was not on the field for The Play, the infamous final play of the 1982 Cal–Stanford game.


Playing career

Selected by the White Sox in the 3rd round of the 1982 amateur draft, Williams made his debut in 1986 and spent three years in Chicago, primarily as a center fielder, before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1989. The Tigers waived him during the 1990 season, and he was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. Williams remained a bit player with the Blue Jays, usually coming on as a pinch-runner due to his speed. He was the starting center fielder when Dave Stieb threw his only no-hitter, the first no-hitter in Toronto history. He is best remembered as a player for a bizarre incident during the 1990 season, where a series of wild throwing errors resulted in him (on base as a pinch-runner) rounding third base and mauling over third base coach John McLaren, knocking him out in the process (Williams himself was winded, but eventually ended up scoring the run). This humorous clip would be played over and over in blooper reels for years to come. The Blue Jays then put him on waivers during the 1991 season, with Canada's other major league team, the Montreal Expos, picking him up. Williams decided to retire from baseball after being released by Montreal following the 1991 season.

Administrative career

In November 1992, Williams rejoined the White Sox organization as a scout. Named special assistant to Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in 1994, he spent some time as a studio analyst for Sox games on SportsChannel Chicago before becoming the team's director of minor league operations in 1995. In 1997, he was named vice-president of player development, a position in which he remained until 2000.

General Manager

In November 2000, Williams replaced Ron Schueler as the general manager of the White Sox; he hired popular former Chicago shortstop Ozzie Guillén as the team's manager in 2003. Since becoming the White Sox GM, Williams has become known for his aggressive moves to bolster the Sox lineup. This reputation was strengthened following the 2004 season, when Williams completely made over the White Sox team by switching its on-field focus from home runs to pitching, defense, and speed. Accordingly, he acquired players which excelled in these areas, through free agent signings (Orlando Hernández, Dustin Hermanson, Jermaine Dye, A. J. Pierzynski, Tadahito Iguchi), trades (Scott Podsednik, José Contreras, Freddy Garcia) and the farm system (Joe Crede, Aaron Rowand). Williams' off-season maneuvers were reflected in an extremely successful 2005 campaign for the South Siders, one in which they held the best record in all of baseball for most of the year, finished with the best record in the AL to clinch their first AL Central Division title since 2000, their first American League pennant since 1959, and their first World Series since 1917.

On February 27, 2006, Williams lashed out at former White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas in an interview with a Chicago television media outlet, in response to statements Thomas made about the White Sox organization. He referred to Thomas as "an idiot" and "selfish" and said no one in the White Sox organization would miss him.

In the offseason prior to the 2006 season, Williams set out to improve his world championship team further by acquiring pitcher Javier Vazquez from the Arizona Diamondbacks and slugger Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies. In addition, Williams was cognizant of the large role that the bench played under Ozzie Guillén and solidified it by trading for Rob Mackowiak and Alex Cintron. Because of these aggressive maneuvers, the White Sox were once again favored to win the 2006 World Series. Despite winning 90 games, they fell short and finished in third place in the AL Central Division behind the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, thereby not making the playoffs. At the All-Star break, however, the White Sox were tied with the Detroit Tigers for first place and held a 6-game lead on the New York Yankees for the wild card. The lead evaporated in the second half of the season and the White Sox finished third in the central behind the Minnesota Twins and Tigers.

In the offseason before the 2007 season, Williams traded away Freddy Garcia to the Phillies and acquired prospects, Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, in return. He also signed veteran free agent Darin Erstad to a one-year $1 million contract. Williams has also stated that the team needs to get younger and improve its scouting. In early January 2008, he traded Gio Gonzalez, Fautino de los Santos, and Ryan Sweeney for Nick Swisher.

With pitcher Jake Peavy being acquired at the trade deadline for the 2009 season Williams was referred to by Gordon Edes of Yahoo Sports as a "stealth bomber" for his under the radar moves. On August 10, 2009, Williams made another under the radar move, by claiming OF Alex Rios off the waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Personal life

Kenny and his wife, Jessica, reside in Naperville, Illinois. The family of 7 includes Arizona State University football player Kyle Williams, a 2006 draftee of the White Sox and Wichita State University baseball player Kenny Williams Jr., a 2008 draftee of the White Sox.

Kenny is renowned and often teased by organization members and players for his structured lifestyle and particular eating habits. It has been reported that Kenny has eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day for the past nine years.  More recent interviews show Williams indicating that this may be an exaggeration.


2005 World Series, Chicago White Sox, General manager, Kenny Williams


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