You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger White Sox fan than Hawk Harrelson. But even the longtime broadcaster, who departed from Chicago’s booth following the 2018 season, is having a hard time putting his beloved White Sox on the board.
Harrelson, who recently claimed he was forced into retirement after 42 years of broadcasting, caught up with the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and offered his perspective on the ballclub who entered Thursday with a 48-73 record and .397 winning percentage.
“It’s been a tough team to watch,” Harrelson told the Sun-Times. “It’s been one of the most disappointing seasons of my major-league career.”
At the end of 2016, Harrelson said he wanted to call games for four more years. He continued to cut his schedule back and in June of 2017, the White Sox announced Harrelson would return for his final season in 2018. The Baseball Hall of Fame honored him with the Ford C. Frick Award in 2020.
Jason Benetti was hired by the White Sox in 2016 to fill in for Harrelson, and he eventually became his full-time successor.
Harrelson, who was unafraid to wave his White Sox pom poms for over four decades in the booth, didn’t come across as bitter. But any criticism coming from him about the current state of the franchise is certainly noteworthy when considering how much of a fan he is.
“There’s so many holes there,” Harrelson said of the 2023 team. “And they just don’t have leaders on the ballclub.”
Those same sentiments, in regard to lack of leadership, are ones shared by former Chicago reliever Kenyan Middleton, who was traded to the New York Yankees at this year’s MLB trade deadline. Middleton blasted his now former ballclub on the way out the door, and while his sentiments seemingly rang true and were endorsed by Lance Lynn, Harrelson was not pleased with his comments, to say the least.
“He’s no Goose Gossage,” Harrelson said. “I thought it was a cop-out, talking about there was no culture there. That’s a bunch of s—. It really is. The players make the culture. Not the managers or coaches, except in some cases like [2005 World Series-winning manager] Ozzie [Guillen].”
While Harrelson is “he gone” from broadcasting, he still spends a good portion of his time watching his beloved White Sox. He also spends a lot of time watching reruns of Gunsmoke, Walker, Texas Ranger and Judge Judy. Do with that information what you will.