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Kenneth Royal "Kenny" Williams (born April 6, 1964 in Berkeley, California) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball and the past general manager of the Chicago White Sox.

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. He played in the game featuring The Play

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. 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 quit playing 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.

In November 2000, Williams replaced Ron Schueler as the general manager of the White Sox; he hired popular former Chicago shortstop Ozzie Guillen 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 Hernandez, Dustin Hermanson, Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski, Tadahito Iguchi), trades (Scott Podsednik, Jose 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 base man 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 Guillen and solidified it by trading for Rob Mackowiak and Alex Cintron. Despite these aggressive maneuvers, the White Sox were once again favored to win the 2006 World Series. However, they fell well short and finished in third place in the AL Central Division behind the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, thereby not making the playoffs.

In the offseason before the 2007 season, Williams traded away Freddy Garcia to the Philadelphia Phillies and acquired prospects, Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, in return.[1] He also signed veteran free agent Darin Erstad to a one year 1 million dollar contract.[2] Williams has also stated that the team needs to get younger and improve their scouting.[3][4]

Preceded by:
Ron Schueler
Chicago White Sox General Manager
Succeeded by:


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