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SBD/October 29, 2012/Franchises
White Sox Name Hahn Senior VP & GM; Williams Promoted To Exec VP
Published October 29, 2012
White Sox Assistant GM Rick Hahn on Friday was named Senior VP & GM, while Exec VP Howard Pizer was named Senior Exec VP, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Hahn replaces Ken Williams, who "was promoted to executive vice president, which also was announced Friday." The change in job structure "actually has been in effect for the past few weeks, with Hahn now calling the shots for the team's day-to-day operations." Under Williams, the White Sox "finished .500 or better nine times in 12 years while producing a 1,014-931 record (.521 winning percentage)" along with the '05 World Series title and the '08 AL Central title. The job admittedly "took its toll on Williams over the years, emotionally as much as physically." Pizer has served as the club's Exec VP "for 32 years and has primary responsibility for the business and administrative operations of the White Sox." He "joined the Sox in 1981 to handle the club's ownership transition" (MLB.com, 10/26). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan noted Williams' tasks "now will involve all facets of the organization." With the team coming up "short in attendance last year, he will brainstorm with the marketing and sales departments." Shutting down the "35th Street El station for construction only adds to the challenge for the Sox." Williams said, "We're trying. It didn't get much play, but we've had some massive ticket reductions here for 80-90 percent of our seats. Step one: Let's try and make it more affordable for people. Step two: What's the best possible experience we can give them? Let's start before they even get here, with cheaper parking." Williams said the players were "demoralized by the low attendance during the stretch run" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/27). Also in Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted Hahn will sign off with Williams and Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "on major decisions" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/27).
OUR TOWN: Despite winning 24 more games in '12 than the Cubs, the White Sox averaged 24,271 fans per game, while the Cubs drew 35,589 per contest. Hahn "was asked if Chicago could ever become a Sox town again." Hahn said, "If we win, absolutely. I do think if we followed up ’05 fairly quickly with another (title) in ’06 or ’07, or at least a deep, deep run, that it probably would’ve swayed some of the momentum our direction. But in the end, it’s not going to change the decision about who is on the field. It’s not for me to worry about" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 10/27).
STAYING HEALTHY: ESPN CHICAGO's Bruce Levine noted Williams' health played "a prominent role in his decision to turn over the day-to-day operation of the team." Williams said, "I think it was time. I have never learned how to dial it back. After decades of not sleeping and your stomach doing odd things to you and your doctor telling you if you don’t learn to dial it back, than you could be potentially cutting years off of your life you stop. Even if I am not challenged the way I am used to as a type A personality, I will always have that little guy on the other shoulder saying 'yeah but you know the consequences.'" Levine noted Williams will be "involved with upper level baseball decisions as well as trouble shooting in all areas of White Sox business." Part of his plan down the road "is to learn how to run an entire baseball franchise." Williams also will look at his new job "as training wheels for his next business goal." He said, "One of the things I look forward to in this challenge is to delve into other aspects of this organization and understand them to a greater degree. If the opportunity arises where I can be a part of an ownership group either here or elsewhere, I will have more knowledge and capabilities to hit the ground running" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 10/27).