Ozzie Guillen’s tenure as the Chicago White Sox manager was nothing if not colorful. So, it’s only fitting that it started in an especially colorful way.
In a story on ESPN, Guillen said that he interviewed for the White Sox job the day after an all-night party, celebrating the then Florida Marlins (whom he coached for) winning the World Series in 2003.
“We started drinking all kinds of drinks. Bad idea. I drank a little bit and overslept for my interview. I had a very nice night but the next day was miserable. The alarm rang, my wife woke me up and I said ‘No. I don’t want to go.'”
The flight didn’t do anything to sober Ozzie up or jog his memory.
Even today, he remembers that the interview with Kenny Williams took place at a restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. Aside from that, Guillen can’t remember a thing, nearly 13 years later.
“I was in Naperville. That’s where Kenny Williams wanted to interview. It was a little private restaurant. I don’t even know what kind of restaurant it was. I don’t know what kind of questions he asked me or what kind of answers I gave him. We sat in the restaurant and had black coffee and and water, club soda water, because I was afraid that I’d have to get up in the middle of the conversation. I did the best I could but that day, I don’t remember anything.”
The story had a happy ending for Guillen. He not only got the job in Chicago, but oversaw one of the more successful eras in White Sox history. From 2004-2011, the South Siders went 678-617, won two division titles, and most importantly, broke an 88-year World Series drought, sweeping the Fall Classic in 2005.
Today, Guillen looks back at his interview with thanks. Not because getting hired brought him a lot of professional success, but because it helped avoid incredibly awkward conversations.
“Thank God I got the job because if I didn’t get the job, I’d have to explain to my family why, because alcohol was involved. That’s not a good example for you, your family, or a good example for your kids. I guess I’ve been lucky. I didn’t know what I was talking about.”
It’s hard to argue with that. Ozzie Guillen is most definitely a one-of-a-kind.