In 1985, Chicago White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen was considered the “best” at his position in the American League.

That is, at least, if you asked Vern McKee, who scouted Guillen and the rest of the White Sox for the Minnesota Twins that September.

Guillen, who won the AL Rookie of the Year, was very good, but McKee’s assessment that he was the “best in league” missed the mark.

To be sure, Guillen was the top defender at his position in the AL during the 1985 season. He led the league in fielding percentage (.980) and committed the fewest errors (12) among shortstops with at least 600 defensive chances, but he wasn’t better than future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, if overall statistics and WAR are considered.

Ripken had a .282/.347/.469 slash line, hit 26 home runs, collected 110 RBI and had a 5.6 WAR for the Baltimore Orioles in 1985. Guillen, on the other hand, slashed out at .273/.291/.358, went yard once, scored 71 runs and had a 2.3 WAR in his rookie year.

The report is courtesy of Diamond Mines of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Gathering information on other teams is common prior to the offseason as clubs look to improve at each position, and the Twins needed to do something about the makeup of their team.

They were in the midst of a fourth-place finish in the old AL West and would go on to score the fourth fewest runs (705) in the league, according to Likely, the Twins were looking to replace shortstop Greg Gagne, who went on to finish the 1985 season with a .225 batting average and a .968 fielding percentage.

There is no accounting for the enthusiasm some scouts have for certain players, though, as Guillen—who was acquired by the White Sox in 1984 in a trade with the San Diego Padres—would have made little difference offensively.

He went on to manage the White Sox from 2004-2011, leading them to a World Series title in 2005 before being traded to the Miami Marlins in advance of the 2012 season. With 678 victories, he ranks third behind Jimmy Dykes (899) and Al Lopez (840) for the most wins in franchise history, per


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