Search For New Manager Continues

Big decisions ahead for KW

While White Sox general manager Ken Williams is doing everything he can to keep his managerial candidates top secret, it looks as if one name already has been scratched off the list.

A report last week alleged that Wally Backman, the Double-A Birmingham manager and a potential candidate for the vacant Sox managerial job, called Twins manager Ron Gardenhire -- his former teammate with the New York Mets in the 1980s -- just before the Sox played the Twins in a crucial four-game series in September and told Gardenhire to "kick their (butts) so I can get Manuel's job."

But the Sox have reportedly interviewed Backman anyway despite other remarks in the organization throughout the season that hinted that Backman wasn't the right fit. Not that the Sox should have been surprised at the report. In mid-September, several Sox players and coaches said that Backman would not be a good choice for Sox manager.

One player went so far as to say that if Backman were hired to replace Manuel, "there'll be a (bleepin') mutiny in here."

Backman was viewed by some Sox coaches as self-serving when, in an interview with a local Chicago newspaper in midseason, he all but campaigned for Manuel's job.

As far as other candidates for the Sox job, a source within the organization said earlier this week he continues to hear that Buddy Bell is the leading candidate. Bell has reportedly interviewed already.

Bell was the director of minor league instruction for the Sox from 1991-93 and is a personal favorite of board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. He has managed the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies, earning a reputation as a players' manager.

Another name high on the Sox's list is said to be Florida Marlins third-base coach Ozzie Guillen.

Other names believed to be on the Sox's short list include Cito Gaston and Terry Francona. Robin Yount has been rumored to be a possibility, but Yount reportedly wants to manage in Arizona if Bob Brenly doesn't return as Diamondbacks skipper.

Williams said that the club wanted to name a new manager within a week after the World Series ended. The Sox are having their organizational meetings the first week of November and want a manager in place for those meetings.

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