Ep. #013: Join Evan and Ozzie Guillén, World Series Winning Manager and 3X All Star as Ozzie shares insight into his 16 season career as a player, his experience as a Manager and some keys to his success in baseball and in his family life.
What You’ll Learn:
02:38 Ozzie’s experience moving to the U.S. from Venezuela at only 16 to play baseball
09:37 What qualities are needed to be the best
11:24 His trade from the Padres to the White Sox
19:56 How he listened and learned from other champions like Tom Seaver and Carlton Fisk
23:23 All Star Game experience
26:25 On developing quick hands
35:26 Being an MLB Manager
43:49 Ozzie’s all time “Starting Nine”
45:28 His experience as an Analyst
52:02 His commitment to his Family
57:26 Hosting “Being Guillén” with his sons on La Vida Baseball
1:00:03 Ozzie Guillén Foundation and giving back
Thank you for being here with us! Evan and the Born To Baseball Team are looking forward to celebrating your success and sharing this journey together.
If you enjoyed this episode we’d be really grateful if you’d rate the show and leave a review on Apple or wherever you’re listening here. This will help other ballplayers find the Born To Baseball Podcast and give us more chances to shout out our listeners!
Now, let’s play ball!
Read show notes here.
Ozzie Guillén Foundation: https://www.og13.org/
Born To Baseball Links:
Episode 013_OZZIE GUILLEN_WORLD SERIES WINNING MANAGER AND 3X ALL STAR
The transcription below was provided for your convenience through an automated service. Please excuse any unintended errors made in the process.
This episode of born to baseball is sponsored by the BTB Travel Team and Training Tracker. Are you a parent or player searching for travel teams or training facilities in your area? Or are you a coach looking to expand your reach? And you have to check out the BTB Triple T Tracker at borntobaseball.com Make sure your team is represented. Let's go.
Calling all ball players. Are you ready to take your game to the next level? Were you born to baseball? Then bring it in, it's game time.
Hey guys, and welcome to the Born To Baseball Bodcast. I'm Evan. Today we have Ozzie Guillén on. Ozzie was the shortstop for the White Sox, Orioles, Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays and managed eight years for the White Sox and Miami Marlins. Ozzie led the White Sox to their first World Series in 88 years and he is also a pregame and postgame analyst for NBC Sports Chicago. Ozzie, thank you so much for coming on today
Wow, thank you. Thank you so much. It's a pleasure for me to be on. So many people calling me from different places. When they call me as a kid and go to do this, I will love it because I know it's not easy to do that, but to me, it's a pleasure to be with you.
Thank you. So you grew up in Venezuela. What was it like playing baseball there as a kid?
Well, you know, we'd be lucky enough that this only thing we can do we don't have those, those games kids playing now. We, you know me I used to get hit to get into the house, now you got to get hit to get out of the house. It was great, you know me I think we grew up everybody, the only sport we really have down there was baseball. We know how many big league player. I remember parents don't want you to be a baseball player because we don't have that many. But I grew up in a good, you know, good stuff. And I think when I was like from 10 to 12, 11 then I moved to another place and that then, I stopped playing baseball, but uh, do you go to Latin American countries? You know, obviously you play soccer, or you play baseball. I grew up playing baseball when money wasn't around. And I think you got to talk about the love of the game you can say that but, meanwhile, when you start professional is different thing but I grew up loving baseball and play baseball all day long.
And you were drafted at 16 years old and you came to the US what was that experience like? And was it what you expected?
Horrible! Horrible experience, you know me. This is when I realized I really loved the game because first of all, different culture different you know, you know when you go from Spanish to English full English it's not easy 1980s we don't have no video chat, Wi Fi we don't have a phone. Nothing is go by letter. Now you you can be out for six months and you can see your mom your parents and your friends every day. You can make your phone call you can WhatsApp to them, you know so many different things right now is a lot easier. But then it was bad, It was bad, but you know me. I want to play the game I know when I come to United States for the first time, I put everything away. I don't have mami, I don't have papi, I don't have girlfriend or anything. And I was a kid can you imagine having a kid 16 years old come from all the way from Venezuela to the United States is not an easy thing to to go through, you know, it's not easy to go through. The process is very hard, Ah, I put in my mind say I just come here to play baseball not to make friends or speak with Good English you know my English is still bad and my English is very, very, very not understandable but I enjoy it I make up my mind and say I want to be the best player I can be when i'm here. And besides that you know me when you're 16 you not grow up as a baseball player until like you're 20 I mean, you really don't grow up as a person you grow up, you're a baby, you you're underweight, you are not matured you English is not well, when you have meetings in English, you just sit there like, okay. And now they, there's more players in the minor leagues from Latin America, that was there, and I never had a roommate,or i didnt have any teammates to speak Spanish. That's why it was, a little harder for me, but it's a little easier because that make me concentrate a little bit more about the game cause I didn have around.
A must have taken some really, really good dedication and just the love For the game, to be out there every day and continue to do what you did best. You are also a true student of the game. What motivated you to really learn strategy and raise your baseball iQ? And how did this help you in your early baseball career?
When I was in baseball is 20 plus years old coming from college. Obviously, our swimming against the water and I think that I learned a lot from that. I think I said that's the way I will do it. That's the way we should do stuff and play winter league and it helped my a lot because all of a sudden I played there with men I come here to United States, back to United State then I play with guys my age a little bit, maybe two years older than me. I had an advantage, and I come out there It's like I can teach those guy how to play baseball, when I was 18. Well, you know me, I tell to my kids. I go you know what you guys Got college you know me You wanna play baseball. One of my kids is managing now. He was different you know me I had to be smarter and my mind got to be a little higher than anybody out in the game that's why that helped me we got a we got to fight to go through and people believe how good you can be. And people believe you really know about the game about life. I did the hardest thing in baseball to be honest with you is of the field you know me on the field now is harder because all the social media, phones, pictures then we just play baseball now you know everybody, find out who you are, what you do, what you up to what you do wrong, what you will do, right. But, I think baseball helped me to raise a good family and to raise a family we love to make to raise a family with respect because that's the game is about respect and love. In this game everybody. Look at the money. But again oh look at the time you spend with your family. The time you left mommy and daddy home, or your real friends are there in baseball. You have a lot of friendship, but you don't have friends real friends. You can you know I have been in this game. Oh my god 16, I'm 54 years old, 40 years professional since I signed and I have few, I got more friends in music real friends in music and bullfighting. They have a baseball player obviously I know more people in baseball buy real real real friend that people call me on call them everyday all the time. It's not in baseball.
That's very interesting and what you said about your family, raising your family with a lot of respect that that just motivates me and I'm sure a lot of other people to really follow that and use that to help us grow just in life.
Let me let me I will not talk to kids like that. And very, very smart kid like you are. Allways always bring the kids and put up, you know, get up, raise. It is a good standing ovation for those people out there and I push... look at the parents. Kids, they don't realize how hard is for the parents to take them to be a good kid to take them to play baseball. Why you were 11 years old, 10 years old, who take you to the baseball class or baseball practice? Your parents. Who drive you back and forth? Your parents. Who spent Saturday when they can do something different like playing golf or just do something with their friends? No, my kids got a game. You know me, We have to thank the parents. Those are the people we have to say thank you. And thank you to the coaches spend a lot of time with you guys. When we're kids, we had to thank three people, coaches and the parents because that's what people really doing this to make you better and be a good kid that do something You guys want to do. And that's more important thing when you appreciate youra parents, taking their time and take the life of them to to make you guys have fun and do what you guys want.
That's really great and to my parents, just thank you for everything and helping me continue to grow as a person and in baseball. So you are in the minor leagues for four years before moving up to the MLB. Can you give us youth baseball players some tips on how to stay motivated while focusing on making it to the Major Leagues?
No matter what you do one night it does not mean anything the next night. Discipline, 1) discipline. Yes sir. Do whatever they tell you to do whatever it takes to be the be the best. They tell you a be on the line. We stretch at 10 o'clock be there at 9:55 the coach can see you. Play hard, play hard discipline and respect the game. And don't be lazy to do extra workouts to take extra groundballs. I'm good friends with Michael Jordan, and when I see him and a lot of the best and Kobe Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, all those guys. They're not the best because... God gave them ability, but when you want to be the best you got to work harder than anything. No matter how good God gives your talent, talent gets you to be okay, talent help you but work ethic, discipline, and the commitment, that's the thing that is going to take you to the top and and I'm play hard, respect the game no matter what you do in life. You know I talk to my kids you don't have to be a baseball player whatever you shoot to be, you got to be the best you can be you know as a truck driver well you have to be the best truck driver in the world and how you motivate yourself to get what you want to get.
That's some great advice from a really big name Ozzie Guillén. What was your reaction when you first found out that you were traded from the Padres to the White Sox?
Wow. I was I was number three prospect. Tony Gwin R.I.P. Was number one. John Kruk. Kevin Mareno was in the top, I was around there. And when they traded me, first of all, they lied to me because they said you'll be the next shortstop for the San Diego Padres. Gary temper was the shortstop dark great one, a good one. And when the traded me I said well, I always say things happen for a reason. And when I talk to the, to the White Sox and said you have a chance to be the everyday shortstop here. And they give me more responsibility. I give myself more push, and don't let those guys who believe in myself to make those straight to, to make those guys down will do their job or being criticized. Then I say, You know what? I got to be the best I can be and I will be the best I can be to not make those guys fail. And when I come for Chicago, remember, I know nothing you remember, you can't. Luis Aparico and Chico Carrasquel they was playing for the White Sox in the past. Very good shorts are now going to fit those shoes. I told myself I've got to be better than them. Obviously, be better on Aparico. I can't because he's a Hall of Famer, but they remember and they love me now. More than of those guys. Why? Because I played longer, I played harder, and I was the best one. But I gave everything I have every day. In the field. Let me tell you one thing. When you play out there, your kids play there, it's always gonna be a scout. always gonna be a coach. always gonna be another parent always could be your father. Or your mom make them feel proud of you play hard, and you are not going to get a hit every at bat. You know what to make the best play. You will make errors. But if you play hard. Those guys going to go home feel proud of yourself about what you did. And I think that's more important than you going 4-4, you know, be the best on the team. I think around there is going to be people watching all the time. When I was playing, I said I'm going to play hard. And I'm going to play good. The way people should be playing just because somebody pay a ticket to watch me play. Maybe one out of 50,000 Maybe one out of 35,000, 1, maybe one parent takes their son or daughter to the game to say hey, watch number 13 play shortstop that's the way you play the game, that was my my goal when they leave the game, that Father, feel proud to show the kid, look that's the way you do go about your business and that was making my life a little bit better.
That's a really, really great way to look at that. There are some people who doubted you in the beginning, because you were only 150 pounds and 5'11" Did you go into your first game feeling like you had to prove yourself to the city of Chicago? Or did you just go there and focus on yourself and what you knew you did best?
I gotta I gotta think about me. What I what I what I know I can do. I was besides that I was only 19, 20 but I was the smartest guy in the in the field in that moment. Why because I wasn't worried about anything I was in every game, I never lose anything. I was very concentrated in the game, what happened? What's going on, why we lose when we win why did you guys not do this? And because I had to do that, I had to fight you know me, I'm played with you know I played with Ron Kittle, Tom Seaver, Carlton Fitz, those guy hit home runs oh, wow. But me, I had to make everything I had to do everything perfect for people realize who I was. Especially my coaches. I mean, my first manager was Tony La Russa Hall of Famer, Jean Leland he was my third base coach those guys teach me how to play the game right how to be a pro. I was lucky, very lucky kid to grow up playing baseball with mens right now a few Hall of Famers men who care about the game. Love the game, respect the game. And I grew up watching those guys go about their business and I say I don't have the talent they have, but I'm better than then in baseball IQ. And thank God I was thinking that way I always pick the right friends. Something you have to, you know to be careful about at your age. Not because the kids are nice to you and be nice. You have to listen to your parents. Why? Because in life you parents is the only real friend you have. Because whatever happened, who you going to call? Your parents. Not just a you know, is a good friends out there, yes, there are. but there's not good friends either. Maybe kids got jealous that maybe kids don't want you to be who you want to be. Maybe the kids grew up in different type of family. And you had to think about it. The only real friends anybody have. I hope is your parents. You know, I know some kids grew up with bad parents. That's no good. Don't care about drinking and smoking or do bad stuff. But when you grow up with good parents. That's all you have to look up to it and make them feel proud of you made them to love you and make them to to take care of you and do everything for you.
That's a really great way to appreciate our parents and like you said before, our parents are everything. And us as youth baseball players, we don't realize how much they do for us. So we have to just believe in ourselves as well.
Look at it this way my kids grew up in baseball and the worst thing for my kids is being "Ozzie's kid" because everybody's expecting them to play like me to have the IQ like me. I'm gonna watch a little league game and people say you're not better than your father you know me that's a very hard way to grow up to you know, it's nice to be a Guillén and it's nice to be a Griffey and it's nice to be you know, somebody name, but in the mean in the back. Inside the house it's not easy. I'ts hard because they look, my kid was managing. I think you saw him manage and everybody thought he was going to manage like I managed because he was my son no, everybody got his own life his own way, his own way to look at stuff. And and as a parent and a coach you have to respect that. But I grew up, I grew up in a divorce. My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old. I got the best I think that divorce helped me. I was obviously you don't want that to happen to anyone. But I said you know what? I got to do what they never did. I raise a family, be with the kids, my kids day in day out I think thanks to that divorce, I am the way I am with my kids and my grandkids and friends and my kids friends. Because I know how hard it is ot be raise almost by yourself. One day is your mom with two days with mom and dad. I put that in the past and say wait. I don't make that excuse "Oh my parents and my mom they got divorced, I got into this I said no. I said, I going to be great when they grow up when I grew up. My parents getting old, feel proud. What I did feel proud what I do, I raising my family. And that's why it's my ultimate goal. Don't fail for that. If something happened to you parents would have problems they do every day. Don't worry about it. Don't worry about that. Normally, that really invalid you because you know what to take anything positive out of that system.
It's really great how you do that for your kids. You were only 20 years old when you first broke into the major leagues. How are you able to keep your confidence up when you were facing guys who were much older than you and who had way more Major League Baseball experience, then you
I always say I'm here for a reason. and I am gonna battle against the best one that's all. You want to be a champion. You have to compete against a champion. You're not going to be a champion competing against no one and that's why like when I got to compete you know what I mean. One day I go to the mound and your dad and your mom can tell you who those guys were, Tom Seaver and Carlton Fisk, two Hall of Famers. I go down to the mound like I own the ballclub like, tell them what to say what to do. But you know why no, people was wrong. I would go to the mound to learn what they say and what they talk about, you know what I mean. My kids would make fun of me because my English was horrible, you know, I'm a little bit better, not better like Wow. But every time I go to the mound my kids ask me like "dad, it's Carlton Fisk and Tom Seaver talking on the mound, two Hall of Famers, they've been in the big leagues for like 15 years. What are you doing there?" And I told my kids I said, you know what I was doing there? Learning. Okay, what are those guys talking about, and I don't say anything. I just listen and go back to my position. And that's how you listen, you listen to the right people, and you go about it and you put everything together, you know. And and you have confidence in yourself. And I don't believe that, by the way, I believe in goals, I don't believe in dreams. Oh, my dream come true. Or Oh my god, you make it to a Big Leagues or you go to high school, or you go to college, graduate from college. Oh, my dream come true. No it's not. . No, that's not your dream that's your goal. Your goal is to be somebody in life because you can dream a different thing every day. You can dream about you was flying the airplane and all of a sudden you wake up, you don't fly anything, but you say I will fly the airplane. And that's your goal and you put that to be your goal. Goal. It's something you can reach dream. I don't know how many dreams you can reach.
I love that way of thinking right there. So you were Really amazing in your rookie year, you even won the Rookie of the Year award. What were some of the thoughts in your head when you first found out news?
I feel proud because, well, my goal came true to play every day in the Big Leagues. Not just to be Rookie of the Year. That's, that's real nice. But, I feel proud because my country, it have a great news in the sport. My parents are going to be, that's going to be there for rest of baseball life. But I feel more responsibility too because every year you have to get better and better. Obviously, you're not. But that's in your mind. I said I got to do better next year. And that will help you. I don't see that many Rookie of the Year finish up careers. I see a lot of Rookie of the Year, the next year they get released. And I said Rookie of the Year to me it was in my mind. It was One good season. That's not gonna carry over for the rest of your career. And that's why you had to turn that thing away. I said, Yeah, I was rookie of the year last year. I got paid last year. This is a new year, and I had to be better and work harder to continue to play this very tough career.
That's an amazing way of looking at it. Only three years into your major league baseball career, you were selected for your first All Star game. That's an experience that so many of us youth baseball players dream of. What was that all star game experience like for you?
I was scared.
First time in my life I was scared because all of a sudden you walk through the hotel. And you see everybody who plays against you. I still, I think I was still young for that. But you see Ricky Henderson, Don Mattingly, ah, George Brett. Ah, oh my god. That one to me, that's the best picture I ever take in a baseball uniform. My first year in the all-star game. You know why because most of the guys, I count one by one, maybe 90% of those guys, they're Hall of Famers. And when you get dressed, and you see those guys like, Oh my God, this guy, is like 6'8" with 300 pounds, just muscles, and you sit next to them like, 152 pounds and 5'11", you're like, Oh, I don't belong here. But uh, but that was a great experience just because you were with the best in the game at that particular moment. And it's just something I feel proud and more than anything, not just because I made the all star game or made the all-star team, it's just because you're next to the good ones, to the great ones and there's nothing, it's the best feeling when you are in the dugout talking to those guys like hey man you know what I mean. Wow when they named you to the line now from the Chicago White Sox Ozzie Guillen and you shake all those superstars hand, man it was so great to be part of that. It's one thing I never realized that til I was getting older and showed my kids like look at this picture guys, look at who's next to me you know, Cal Ripken,Tony Fernandez you know what I mean, so many great players around me. That was an amazing, amazing moment. No way you're gonna forgot about it.
yeah that's sounds like a really really amazing experience.
You know it's funny, the guy you hate, you play against them and now they're your teammate for a day. And you know what I mean, Dave Winfield, Oh my God, I look at Dave Winfield on the other side of the ballpark or the field, man I play against him and now I'm playing with him. That's a great great, great accomplishment you can ever have when you sit down and have a couple you know, you have dinner together, all the wives and that moment just, for the all star people, it's an amazing. An amazing experience I ever had with a baseball uniform.
You were a dynamic shortstop when you played and you had some really really good hands. What drills did you do to develop really quick hands?
Okay, working on your feet. The feet. When you work on your feet to try to be quicker, have quick feet. It makes a great fielder. People think oh, it's just great hands. No, I think it's opposite. I think when you have good feet. It's experience I don't think I don't Derek Jeter was a great shortstop. He was a great player to me. One of my favorite baseball players ever. But you see him play short stop, he wasn't good because of his feet it make him good because of his these hands. If I'm gonna teach you how to catch ground balls. I will not teach you the way Derek Jeter was catching the ball. But Derek Jeter's feet was so amazing he made everything look easy. But it wan't his hands it was his feet. I think when you have good feet and you're ready with your feet, ready to throw the ball to first base. Your feet are the ones that make you be great or be okay. If you have bad feet or heavy feet. And you look at a big first baseman, the outfielder, but you look at a good shortstop, the best thing they have is feet. And you gotta work every day. Kobe Bryant show me something. Michael Jordan show me something like oh my god. The best like we talked earlier. They were in theym hours before they start practice and they stayed an hour later after the practice. I didn't do it the way they did. No way I never did. Not too many athletes have that push to be the best, but the only way you'll be better is working.
That's really really great insight for us youth baseball players
Okay, let me tell kids now. Okay, the best thing you can do is hitting.
But the worst thing you can do is run the bases.
And kids love to do what they do best. Obviously to look good. But I think fielders, you know fielding to me was the best thing I ever did. I was the best shortstop for seven years the best in the league and said I didn't even realize that until my kids showed me maybe a year ago like wow, dad you was good defenseively, you was the best in WAR guys and I was like wow, I was doing my job. I was not thinking about being the best I wanted to try and be the best for my team. But You always, always try to work more in something you're weak at. If you're a good hitter but I need to play defense. Nobody likes to play defense. Nobody wants to do stuff they're not good at it. Like when I play golf. I like to drive. Oh my God, look at how far the ball goes. But that's because that's my best part of my golf game. By my short game, it's terrible. I should be working more on my short game than my big game. That's the same way with baseball. Don't fall in love with the things you already know you're good at. Obviously, you you have to continue to work on it. But work on the stuff you're weak at or you think you need work the most and you'll be a better player.
That's really great insight and information for us youth baseball players. And yeah, it's it's really important to be committed to the things maybe you don't want to do. At the moment, but you know eventually will get you to the place you want to go.
Same way when you're at school
when you go to school you always have one class your lost. And because you love and you're good at it, you work in that class, but the one you're not good at, you're like, oh my god, I gotta do this. I gotta do that. No, that's the one you got to concentrate more on and pay more attention to it because the other one you like, they're gonna come natural. But the one you don't like. You know, when I went to school, it was very, Periods, I know it was not that long. I hate English. Hated. But I never worked on English. I should go there and say, I'm gonna be better in my class in English. Because, not because of my future. I don't know why we have English class in Venezuela. when nobody traveled to the united states anyway. But uh, it was my mistake. I should've been better or work harder on my English. I was working on my math when I was already okay. And now that mistake teach me how to get better or to be in the top of my class every day. And the same way it's in baseball. Same way it's in life. Don't do stuff when you're already good at it. Do stuff where you think you're weak and you have difficulty to get better. That's the one you got to work on the most.
That's really, really great advice. You never made more than 52 strikeouts in one season. What are some things you worked on consistently to stay at the top of your game?
I don't think it was good because I was swinging at everything. If I'm born again and play the game again. I will be better than that. Strike out, my problem was every time my bat leave my shoulder that ball is in play. I don't swing and miss that many times. Never. Every time I put my hands out the ball is in play and that cost me my average, that cost me more to get on base, that cost me more walks. And that was my problem. I can be with two strikes as soon as swing I know I'm gonna put the ball in play. And that was a problem I had all my career, taking pitches. Now when I get older I got better but it was a little too late to put that in practice. Once you have two or three thousand at bats in the Big Leagues, but strike out, the strike out thing is every time, you see a lot of guys strike out swinging or strike out foul balls. Unfortunately for me, every time I put the ball in play it's on. Somebody would catch it or somebody will, you know what I mean. That was the problem I had in that particular time. But also it was a great problem. Because my manager knew I was the best contact hitter in the game and he took advantage. He put a hit and run, bunt you know, game situation. And that helped me too in those particular at bats.
Yeah, that's also what made you such a great player during your time and ultimately, a really big figure in baseball
It's a funny thing because I got paid to play. I didn't get paid to be a batting champion. I don't get paid to lead the league in RBI. I don't get paid to to be a homerun leader. I'm paid to play every day and I did. I played 162 games, 155 games. I played every day. A thing that is not easy to do, play every day with my size, my body. How much I weighed. That's why I take care of myself a lot, because I'm getting paid to be in the lineup. I'm not getting paid to, to produce the way somebody else was getting paid. And that's why my goal was staying in the lineup. Every day go out there and play everyday. And that was my proud. So you know, Ah, you lead the league in homeruns. Yeah but I played more games than you did. That's the only ammunition I had to give people and with them, okay, because the way to stay in the big leagues for me, it was to play every day, and I did. It's something, I know, I know, I wasn't going to lead the league in anything. But I got to lead the league in defense. And I got to lead the league in games played. And that was my, my goal, and I did it.
And it's important to know our strengths and do what we have to do to contribute to our teams to eventually just put our teams in the best position to win.
Yes, I think it's the best satisfaction. That's why I got the opportunity to coach and manage more because I was playing for the team. I was the captain of the team in the big leagues and I'm hitting 240, 250. You know, you always captain of the team when you're the guy to produce or you're the guy that makes more money. Just because they know every time I put on a uniform it's about winning it's not about numbers. And I think that made it easy and my teammates respect me the most just because of that.
Did you always want to be a manager in the MLB?
Yes, and I'm not gonna say You know why? Because I played for a lot of bad managers and I'd say if that guy can manage, I can manage. Then, you know, I was managing in the big leagues when I was playing. You know why?
because because that that was my goal, managing one day. And I said, No, I never thought okay, I would do this. I will do that. I would do the same thing he does. I got my own way to manage. When I was playing, how I talked to the guys, how I approach a player, how I move the guys back and forth, and that helped me to be a great teammate. And when someone is down, I'm always next to him, Like Hey, lets go. Don't quit, because they teach me that way. You know what I mean. Don't put yourself down, you know, you're good enough. You're in the big leagues. Don't let thish thing bother you. Don't let this game bother you. And then that's why, i don't think I was a good manager. I think I was a great, great communicator. And I make you believe no matter how bad you was as a player, I make you believe you was the best. And that's why I think that's why my managing career it was good because I make a lot of friends. They were my players. Because they know I was there for them every day.
Yeah, that's awesome. What you did for your players. Either when you were Managing or just playing during your playing career. And as a manager, what factors do you consider when you're about to make a pitching change? And how do you know who you're going to bring in? Because there's so many guys in the bullpen?
That's a very, that's the hardest moment for any manager. Why am I going to take you ouy, why you're leaving him in. Who are you gonna call who's the hitters? You got everything in your mind. Like, okay, this guy, this guy, because whatever the reason is, use the bullpen, Put those guys in the best moment to have success. That's what my point is okay, I'm going to put this guy in this at bat because he will have success against him. And to create. I will create more confidence in the player. Because when you bring somebody you know was the right guy or the right matchup and it fails, you create, you have doubts in your mind how good you can be. That's why I tried to put those guys out there but the hardest thing or the more uncomfortable thing for any manager is when you go to pinch hit for somebody or you go to remove somebody from the mound. And then that's the two things wow that you know what I mean. Some players don't like to come out but you have to. Or I hate like, oh this guy is gonna pinch hit for you. But wait a minute, I can't hit that guy? Yes, I can hit that guy. Especially if you pinch hit and the guy you pinch hit for strikes out. You're like oh my god, you have to try to put the best guys in the right place and the right posotion for them to have success in the game.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And that's also what made you such a good manager. Trying to put the guys who you feel are going to have the most success in the right positions. So 2005 was a very special year for you because your team won the World Series. What was the chemistry like on that 2005 team
It's only one chemistry when you win, when you win, great chemistry. When you lose, That's not a good chemistry even if you want to have good chemistry. My thing is, in my clubhouse I had a great bunch of guys. I didn't have superstars. I had good players. But as soon as they put on their uniform, everyday it was about winning. And you got to tell those guys hey listen this is about winning not about numbers. If you win, Numbers are gonna be there. Why? Because when you win that means, you do something good. And your numbers and your ability will take care of that. And I think that from the First day players found out hey this is about winning it's not about numbers. And those players went to my plan, they put it together, they understand my point, they understand how we're going to play the game. And that's what at spring training, we got that philosophy. We don't care if you're 0 for 4. You go to bat and you have to move the guy over, you have to do something for the team that will help everyone.
And winning is what players strive for. It ultimately helps them and just the team in general.
I think when you win, if you are 0 for 4 and you win, you're happy. You might fake it. But the team win. And I think that was very important to everyone. Because you can be 4 for 4 and your team loses. You know, you can not enjoy that with the rest of the guys.
and that's why that's why I think winning is very important than anything
at what point in the season did you feel like you had a shot at winning it all with that team?
Never did, never did because we was like wow, 15 games over .500, 20 games over .500, we know we're gonna win the division. At the end of the division it was kind of hard because Cleveland was playing very good baseball.
But I never did. I never did I remember
we're up three games
against Houston. And I told those guys, I had a meeting with the players and said listen, don't let the duck wake up. Kick'em. Don't let it wake up because you lose this game, they know they're going to have a chance. That happened to Boston and the Yankees. They let those guys win one game. Uh Oh, there we go. If you are there. If you're in that particular World Series you know you won three games in a row before. 3,4,5,6,7,8, games in a row and that's why in the third game I talked to the guys. I said hey, kick them right now. Don't let them get up. Because if you let them, if you leave the guy get up, they might hit you and knock you down. I said let's go I said to me, Every game was important. We, until we had the last out of the World Series. Every day, I never take anything for granted, I never take anything for... Oh, we are up three games, we're fine, we got it done. No this... That's why I think this team went out and win it in four games.
That's very interesting and just take it one game at a time.
That's it. One game at a time and like like what I said. For you you want to play this game, it;s not an easy game but whatever happened the night before or the day before or the week before it doesn't mean anything the next day. You can have 4 for 4 one day and the next day it;s a brand new game. You can be 0 for 4, and that's why this game is not easy, but this game physically and mentally you have to be prepared for that.
What would you say your favorite game as a manager would be?
Wow. So obviously my first game was. My first game I was a manager like I couldn't believe I'm managing the team I played for. I managed in thecity I played all my career for or most of my career. And obviously the last out. We did it in Houston, the last out to clinch the championship. World Series. I wasn't happy for me. I was happy for the players. That's the ones that battle all year long. Stressed all year long. Played hard all year long. I feel proud for the players. And I feel so happy for them more than me
That must have been a really special moment for you and your players. If you could put together a dream team choosing players from across baseball history. What would be your starting nine?
Oh my god. Why do you do that to me.... so many great, so many great players. If I had a dream team. Let me see...catching I'd put Ivan Rodriguez. He was the best catcher I ever see ah. second base Roberto Alomar, shortstop it would have to be Ozzie Smith. I'd like to say Derek Jeter because Derek Jeter is a winner all his life. Third base it would have to be George Brett. In the outfield, my goodness, Vladimir Guerrero, Ken Griffey, Jr. in centerfield, left field Barry Bonds. You know, I left out Rickey Henderson you know what I mean so many great players out there. No, I'll take Barry out and Ricky because I see Ricky play more than I see Barry. I'll put Barry as a DH. First baseman that's only one I'm missing. First base, so many great first basemans out there. I would put Puljols on first base.
That's awesome but there are so many great players throughout baseball history.
So you can ask me tomorrow, you can ask me tomorrow the same question, I might tell you different players
as an analyst Is there a different way you see the game because you aren't like in it like playing or coaching
An analysts is... everything you see is easier from there. Because when you're managing everybody in baseball is managing that game. You and the fans they say why did this manager put this guy, Why did he do this, Why did he do that? I think being an analyst is the easiest way to criticize a player and say the right thing. But I think it's easier for me to watch the game. And when I am an analyst I don't try to be a former manager, a former player, I'm going to be the analyst on that day of the game. I never say oh, I would do this, why he don't do that? I always say why'd the manager do this? I don't say say if I was the manager I would do that. I think that sounds ugly, you know, that sounds ugly because it's easy to think about the game when you're with the mic, next to it. But I always say, You know what I mean, this guy got this guy on the bench, you got this guy in the bullpen. Why he don't use him? I don't say if I was the manager I'd use this guy. Because you sound arrogant. You sound you like you know the game more than anybody else or you sound like, like that manager down there. He don't know, I know more than him. And that's why you have to be careful how you say and when you Say in that particular moment, not because you managed. Or you, because you win the championship, or you managed for so many years, you played for so many years, you're better than the guy that's downstairs in that particular moment.
We're really lucky to have an analyst like you, who has a lot of baseball experience.
There's one thing I will tell you, I will tell the fans the truth. Even the players like it, or the manager like it, because my job is to explain the game to the fans. And whatever they say later if they like me or not, that's their problem. I will never lie to the fans and I never did. I never lied to the fans even when I was a manager. I never lied to the players. When I see something wrong, I let them know right away. And that's why I never have any problem with anyone because they know how I was and who I was. And that's the way my job is right now, to explain to you guys, explain to the fans in that particular game what's wrong and what's right. And if you like it You like it. I'm working for the White Sox right now at NBC. And I told the players if you don't want me to say bad stuff about you play good. If you play good or if you're managing good, what am I gonna say. Not, because you got four hits. Because, I see you do the right thing for the team in that particular game or that particular at bat, that particular pitch. And that's why you got to take this game, pitch by pitch, inning by inning and that's, That's how you can talk on TV. Because fans, fans know about the game. They think they know too much about the game. But when you lie, when you have the mic and you lie or you're protecting somebody, they will find out and they don't like that.
I've seen a couple of videos of you joking around around the game baseball. How important is having fun while you're playing the game of baseball?
Well, if you come from where I come from, and you are where I was. You had to have fun every second of the game. You getting paid. Like I always say, I never worked in my life. Never did. I never worked one minute. Because everything I was doing, I love it. I have the passion I enjoyed. And so far, I'm 56 years old. I don't know that word work, because I never did in my life. Every time I go to the ballgame, I was doing something I really love. I really like I enjoyed it. And I make money out of that. And that's why I say, I always say you know, I'm the luckiest man because I raised a family I create a family which is something I always got to enjoy what I was doing.
When you love something and it never feels like work.
Never did never do it and when you look and I'm one a few of those guys to show up to the ballpark no matter what happened that day. I was the happiest man in the field. I am the happiest man in myself. Because I was doing something I really does and I really loved doing and I was lucky enough to live that life.
What would you say your favorite sort of have fun moment is
have fun moment... when you play! You know how many people play for fun? Now we get paid to play that's, that's extra fun. You, when you get paid a lot of money and people look up to you and people ask for your autograph and people admire you or people appreciate what you did or what you do. That's the funny, The best thing about this game. And I think every time you put a uniform, let's go have fun. Especially you. You know right now, Little League, high school, and I told my kids, you're done with college fun is over. Now when you sign professional ball, you're getting paid for it. Now you have to be better. And that's two things People have to be careful with. Because it's two different things. Now you make money, you will have more responsibility. You gotta you got to expect better for yourself and people pay to watch you play. You cannot let those guys down. And I enjoyed every minute you see me play shortstop, you never see me or have the opportunity to see me play but everybody in the league say who have more fun in baseball? 90% of the players say Ozzie Guillen, play against me or play with me. And I love it because I was like, Well, you know when you go to Disney land. And to me I was going to Disneyland every day. And they say something. That's why I enjoyed the game more than anybody in my time.
Yeah, that's so cool. That's awesome. So, family is extremely important to you. What influence have they had on you as a player and in your baseball career?
Well, because they know, how, you know? It's funny because they know I had a lot of responsibility. I was very, very good in anything I did. And I teach my kids how it's important
how do you say that?
the commitment you make, that's the commitment you're going to be. And you you make a commitment. You have to be a good husband, you got to be a good father. You got to be a great grandfather, that's commitment and I teach my kids that. I say that's the best thing I can say. You know, I was taking the game seriously. Very seriously. But with a lot of fun and to combine those two things, it's not an easy combination. But it worked for me. You know have fun with what you do but have a lot of responsibility what you do, and that's why I think my career lasted longer just because I make this combination. And one thing about it too... whatever happened in the ballpark, stays at the ballpark. Don't bring it to your house. And what happened in your house leave it in the house. Don't, because you are always going to have problems, okay. Like your father, he sings. All of a sudden he's gotta go to work. All of a sudden he has a problem, a fight with your mom for any reason or you know, he was upset with you for any reason. He can't go out there and think about those problems when he performs. Same way when you perform you let, okay, something goes wrong in in the concert. He can't go there and taking you guys what was wrong in the in the concert because you don't have nothing to do with that and then that's the thing with me worked very well. Whatever happened on the field stayed on the field, whatever happened in my house stayed in my house
Did you coach your kids in baseball when they were growing up? And were you tough on them?
I never did. Unfortunately I never do. I wish I could have had more time. I was tough of them? No, no, I wasn;t tough on them, not not all. I say you, I think. Maybe that's a mistake I make or that's a good thing I did. I let my kids be happy and do whatever they want as long as they do it the right way. And but I bet you my grandson and my granddaughter are going to be way better players than they did because now I have the time to coach them. I have time to teach them more. And so it's all about time. You know when I grew up, when they grow up. I watched them play. Yes I watched them play every day. Every time I have an opportunityto See them play I would go and watch it, every, every game. I never stayed home because I was tired. I never stayed home because I was busy. I never stayed home because oh my god I'm tired of baseball I got to see my kids paly. No I never did. I go there and watch like another parent. I never watched my kid like I was Ozzie Guillen. I watched my kids praying like all the parents. All the parents. I don't say hey Put your hands up, do do this, never did. I never put my nose on it. And that's why our relationship has been great. Has been good. And off the field or on the field, I treated my kids like kids. I treat my kids like my sons. And and I think my relationship with my kids is better than my career in baseball.
That's amazing. They're they're really lucky to have you as a father.
Sometimes they do sometimes they don't.
Your your son Ozney. He actually followed your footsteps and became a manager. What was your reaction when you first found out?
I was very proud? Very happy. Not because very proud because, he did it himself. I don't help him in anything. He did it himself, he just win the championship in Colombia. I was more proud more happy when that happened then when I won the World Series. because I see my kids have success. I think Ozney right now knows more of the game than me because he was into the game, the new stuff coming out right now. He knows about the game very well and I think he has a good future doing it. But you know what I mean say, he asked me questions, Yes. I answer the way I should answer yes. But we always discuss about the problem. I never right or you never right. We talk about it. We get together we talk. No, you're wrong. I say not because I say I'm right not because I played that many years in the big leagues I'm right not because I win two championships I'm right. And that's one thing you have to put on the side. Don't try to put together like I was better than you because of this, no, I think everybody have his time everybody thinks, but I always talk to him about the game. Yes. I always talk to, when he asks me a question. I answer. I never ask any question why you do this in the game why you move this guy, or why you take these guys out? Nope. I never did.
And I just want to say I watch LaVidaBaseball. And I love the dynamic between you and your sons. I think it's really special.
Don't miss it, it's gonna be better and better every day. Because we just not talk about our game. We just talk about life. We talk about something, we not agree with each other. And I love that. Everybody has a different way to look at the game. And that's why we put the show together just because it's fun. And I'm not right, because I'm the guy who knows baseball and everybody has their opinion. And the opinion they have is very good. And the opinion they have, if I don't agree I will say it but not because I don't agree I'm right. And I think the show it has been pretty good. And hopefully we'll continue to do it.
I really love lavidabaseball with you guys.
Well ask questions, you know what next time ask question we will respond to you
I definitely will
Yeah, do it, we will respond and I'll be aware if you are gonna ask questions and that's the part of the show. When you have people ask questions, it makes the show more fun. Because that's why we are there. For now you don't have one opinion in the show you have four. And that's why you can pick out of the four opinion, you can pick the one you like. You know what I mean, maybe you pick Ozney's opinion. And that's what the show is all about.
So Chicago has been your home for a number of reasons. Now. What makes that city so special for you?
Oh my god. Well, two things. I can do whatever I want in the city. At the park you know people be nice to me. People be nice to my family. They grow up here. I can you know, that's the first winter I spend in Chicago. You know it was not something we wanted to experience but when we stayed as a family we going to enjoy and I think that Chicago is a very calm city. Very nice city. Chicago, it's like a small New York and I told you guys I told Bobby Allende I told your dad why you not move out of that city, out of New York and come to Chicago but I think Chicago, I will. I will live here for the rest of my life. Now I have grandchildren. Now. I stay in the city more. I love this city. People respect me. One thing about it, I don't care if you love me or not. as long as you respect me? That's the only thing I care.
Can you talk to us about the Ozzie Guillen foundation and what its mission is
It start with, that foundatiotn start with Ruben Blades because I was doing a lot of stuff in my country without people notice and Ruben Blades come to me and say you got to let people know you help your community you help the town you help your city, yohelp your country and thats where it start. We start with kids with AIDS and cancer in Venezuela. That's why I love all the musicians that help me doing that. That's why I think I have more friends in the music sides than I have on the player side. And I was teaching my kids how to help the people that need help. Because we are lucky enough to have less problems than a few people. And that's how the foundation started. You know what I mean. We help a lot. We go through. It's not easy to do it, my wife, especially my wife, my wife is the one involved a hundred and Ozzie Jr. go a hundred percent. I just help and. And I think that's one of the best things my kids are going to carry from me, help others when they need help. And that's why I think that foundation is going to be long, you know what I mean. I don't do the foundation to be famous, I don't do the foundation just to be to be my, people talk about, oh look at Ozzie how great guy he is. No. I did it for my family. Make sure they have responsibility, make sure they care about people next to them, people around them, and every year it's stronger and stronger and, and people help me a lot. I got people, they put money on it. Do more stuff more important than me. And that's what the foundation was all about it. It's all about teaching my kids how to give something to the people really, want, need to.
That's a really great in an important lesson that all of us can learn for. Just to give back to People who may not have as much as we do, and even just the community we grew up in, you give back to others.
It's just something you feel you feel good. You feel like oh my god when we donate anything, you can donate one pencil, one book or you can donate a baseball field. No matter it's one million or $1. Every time you donate something to make the community better it's a great feeling. It's a lot of work. It's a great great feeling and I thank all the people that help that foundation without... it's a friend. You know, they never charge me anything. They never say hey, I want to do this or no. I think that Foundation, it comes from friends and you make good friends when you're a good guy. And, and so far, they know all the money go to somebody. I know have a Secretary I don't have any office, anything. You, We make a hundred thousand dollars we give away a hundred thousand dollars, we made $2 we give away $2. It doesn't matter, it's about helping and make family happy. Maybe sometimes you donate people you, you donate money to kids. They don't know. But the parents know the people around them know. And that's a great satisfaction.
Well, now I want to move into the rapid fire questions. You ready?
I'm always ready, brother.
So first, what was your favorite season as a player?
My favorite season to play my first year, you know, first year because finally I make it to the big leagues.
What's your favorite food from Venezuela?
Oh, from Venezuela, obviously like everybody else I love arepas. Arepas is the best one because I grew up eating that. And you talk about black beans, rice and meat. Everybody in every country eat that. In Puerto Rico, New York everything but arepas, I think that's my favorite.
And if there was a blockbuster movie made about your life so far, what would you want it to be called?
Oh my god the real Ozzie
because nobody, Yeah, because nobody knows exactly who I am. They got the, expecting different things, love me, hate me. But "Meet The Real Ozzie" that's the movie it should be making that's gonna be the name. And the guy, the guy worked hard, and he's a great. I'm not gonna say I'm great in everything. But I think I'm great, most the thing is I'm a great husband and great father and great grandfather that's that's my responsibility. I'm willing to do it. And that's, I think I want people to love me more with what I do with my family and my friends than what I did on the field.
What are some of the things that you're currently working on?
I work on my golf swing. I'm terrible, but I work on it. I work on it and I work on it to be the best grandfather I can be. I work on it everyday to be the best I can be because they're my blood. That's the people they're gonna look up to me and that's the people we're gona raise.
I know you're you're almost everywhere. Are there certain places where people can reach out to you and learn more about you?
Well, I'm a very home made guy. I stay home all my life that's why the quarantine don't hit me that bad because I always stay home the most I can. You can reach me and my Twitter. Or you can reach me on my Instagram, my Instagram I don't work on it that much. My Twitter Yes. And to be honest with you. This is my second, my second podcast I ever did something and when your parents and my friend Bobby asked me you want to do it, I feel like it's on. Just tell me what they because right now in that particular time, that's the thing people are doing now. They asked me from every part of the world, every media, every friend. To be honest, and I say no I don't want to be on it because It's one hour, you will enjoy it. But you never know what happened. But to be with you, and the questions you asked me, to me, that's very important. I always do that to my friends, be next to them and talk to them. They asked me any question they want, but if they want to reach me Twitter and Instagram.
Ozzie, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. And I'm so honored to be here with you on the podcast today
Believe me it's not your honor, it's my honor. Because I went through a lot of media and they talk to me and the question you used, I know you were very prepared for this. To me it was on honor, hoppy and glad to do this. And now now you guys know a little bit about myself, the real Ozzie who is the Ozzie off the field. And when that question comes from a kid like you and to me it's more important to teach them how to be a better kid, not how to be a better player. Thank you so much to give me the opportunity to be with you and have a great, great time with you and very proud of you, man.
Thank you. Thank you all for listening in. We really hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to hit the subscribe button and be the first to know when new episodes launch. Check us out at born to baseball.com for free resources and new gear. And of course on social media at born to baseball where we can connect live now let's play ball
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.