Major Shakeup: White Sox Fire Top Execs Amidst Talk of Relocation

The Chicago White Sox made seismic moves that will alter the shape of the franchise in the years to come.

Yesterday, the team announced the firings of Executive Vice President Ken Williams and General Manager Rick Hahn.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision for me to make because they are both talented individuals with long-term relationships at the White Sox,” said Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, “Ken is like a son to me, and I will always consider him a member of my family. “I want to personally thank Ken and Rick for all they have done for the Chicago White Sox, winning the 2005 World Series and reaching the postseason multiple times during their tenures.”

He added, “I have nothing but the greatest respect for them as people and appreciate the commitment and passion for the White Sox they exhibited over the years.”

Reinsdorf also said the team will begin its search for a single decision-maker to lead baseball operations and anticipate having that person in place by the end of the season.


Moreover, a Crain’s Chicago Business report confirmed through sources that Reinsdorf may consider moving the White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field on the Southside and possibly selling the team altogether. Possible landing spots for the team are the Chicago suburbs and even a city like Nashville.

Tuesday’s shakeup was the latest development for this 123-year-old franchise currently mired in losing season division with a 39% winning percentage. Yet, in dismissing Williams, Reinsdorf parted with a man who had been an integral figure during the team’s most recent success.

Ken Williams’ Rise as a Pioneering Black Baseball Exec

Williams began his playing career with the White Sox in 1986 and retired from the sport after the 1991 season. He would become a White Sox scout in 1992 and experience a relatively quick ascent up the organizational ladder.

Williams was named director of minor league operations (1995-96) and vice president of player development (1997-2000) before being promoted to General Manager in 2000, a historical event.

At 36, he became one of the youngest GMs in the history of baseball and just the third African American to hold that job title.

He became one of the most prominent Black executives in Major League Baseball.

“I am who I am. I’ve been black all my life. I do recognize, and I’m proud of, the fact that there may be someone out there who may be motivated by seeing me in this position,” Williams said in a 2001 Stanford Magazine profile, a publication associated with his alma mater.

The likely apex of Williams’s career as an MLB executive was when the White Sox won its third and most recent World Series title in 2005 after an 88-year drought under his watch. In 2012, Hahn succeeded Williams, who was promoted to Executive Vice President.

Now, both men are out in a rather stunning development.

Williams issued a statement thanking White Sox fans in the immediate aftermath of his dismissal:

“I’m not really a “Statement” kind of guy and had no intention of releasing one. That said, the volume of messages I have received in the wake of the news compels me to say something. First, I never knew so many people had my number.

“I want to take time to first thank White Sox fans who went out of their way throughout the years to offer support and encouragement. Often this would happen on the street or in a restaurant or on one of my morning walks, and it always surprised me. It would come at times when I least expected it or even deserved it, but definitely when I needed it, and I was grateful they would take the time.

“I thank Jerry Reinsdorf for the opportunity he gave me to head baseball operations and will forever be proud of the World Series Championship we all celebrated together. At my inaugural presser, I spoke of winning multiple championships. That was my goal, our goal, and we failed. I am a bottom-line guy, and the bottom line is we didn’t get it done. This is what happens as a result.”


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