Chili Dog MVP Press Box: News & Media

Roland Hemond R.I.P…

Word came to me on Monday afternoon that Roland Hemond, a friend and former executive with the White Sox had passed away at the age of 92. I knew Roland had been ill for the past few years but still to actually find out that he had passed was jarring and sad.

Roland and I had spoken a lot over the years and as I explain later in this tribute to him, he was always a man of his word.

The role of a general manager cannot be understated. He is the person directly responsible for acquiring and evaluating talent needed to win games at the big-league level. He also has to balance in his head the roles of economics, baseball rules, the player’s union, dealing with the media and thousands of other things on a daily basis. It is not a job for the faint of heart or for those who don’t have the experience of upper management.

In my opinion Roland was the best G.M. in the history of the organization and I mean no disrespect to others who also deserve consideration for that title…men like Frank “Trader” Lane, Ed Short, Ron Schueler or Kenny Williams.

When Hemond took over the organization the franchise was literally in shambles. He faced challenges no other individual who held the position of player personnel director/G.M. ever faced.

The Sox were on their way to a franchise record 106 loss season in 1970. Comiskey Park was falling apart from disrepair. Fans were staying away in droves because the area was supposedly in a bad neighborhood. In 1969 for example the team drew, for the season, only 589,000… even that would fall to a paltry 495,000 in 1970. In 1968 and 1969, owner Art Allyn was playing a portion of his home games in Milwaukee trying the market to see if it would accept a move of the franchise from the South Side. The Sox would even lose their radio station and have to broadcast games starting in 1971 on two small outlets in LaGrange and Evanston, Illinois. Anything and everything that could go wrong for the White Sox did. And into this cesspool stepped Hemond along with new field manager Chuck Tanner when they were hired in September 1970.

I asked Roland about how the hiring process all came together. “Glenn Miller, who was the farm director of the White Sox in the 1960’s is the person who recommended me to new owner John Allyn and then Executive Vice President Stu Holcomb. He said that I and Chuck Tanner should get the jobs. Glenn knew that if I were to get the position that I’d want Chuck as my field manager. Chuck had managed in the Angels farm system. I knew him since I also worked for the Angels. Angels G.M. Fred Haney and I had hired Chuck to manage the Quad Cities Angels in Davenport, Iowa. From there Chuck managed in El Paso, Seattle and Hawaii which was then the Angels Triple-A affiliate.”

“So, Stu Holcomb interviewed the two of us and we were hired simultaneously in early September 1970. The press conference then took place on September 14 in Chicago. Chuck’s team was playing Spokane in the P.C.L. playoffs so we waited until that was finished.”

Overnight, Hemond, who spent years in both the Milwaukee Braves and California Angels farm system began to deal. Other general managers trusted and liked him because of his integrity and honesty. He was usually one of the first to be called when trade discussions took place. He always tried to get the best of a deal but never at the expense of humiliating or embarrassing his counterpart. Hemond realized if he did this, the odds of him being called back for future discussions or trades were small.

In that first off season, he netted the Sox such players as Mike Andrews, Luis Alvarado, Rick Reichardt, Ed “the Creeper” Stroud, Pat Kelly, Tom Egan, Tom Bradley and Jay Johnstone. Superstars? No… but they were solid ballplayers who improved the talent and depth of the club. Overnight the Sox went from 56 wins to 79, one of the biggest turnarounds in the history of baseball.

In 1972 Hemond rolled the dice bringing in talented but oft troubled Dick Allen. Allen was on his third team in three seasons and was considered a clubhouse cancer. Hemond also made a deal for starting pitcher Stan Bahnsen. Those two, along with holdovers like Carlos May, Wilbur Wood, “Goose” Gossage, Terry Forster and Ed Herrmann almost brought a division title to the South Side. Allen nearly won the Triple Crown; Hemond was named Executive of the Year and Tanner the Manager of the Year. Roland proved that rebuilding didn’t have to take five years.

“Acquiring Dick was a daring move,” Roland told me. “I felt though that Chuck Tanner would be the right manager for him. Chuck is from New Castle, Pennsylvania and Allen was from Wampum, Pennsylvania. Chuck had known Dick and Dick’s mom for years. Allen was one of the most talented players to have ever played the game. We felt he could help us. Then we acquired Stan Bahnsen within a half hour of completing the Allen trade. Those two transactions made a big difference in strengthening the Sox for 1972. If Bill Melton hadn’t suffered a herniated disk operation in mid-season, I believe we would have won the pennant in 1972.”

Chili Dog MVP Press Box: News & Media

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Remembers Roland Hemond

“One of my big slogans through my lifetime has been ‘enjoy the moment.’ Well I’m enjoying this one guys, believe me.”

– Roland Hemond, accepting the Buck O’Neil Award

“Roland Hemond came to Cooperstown as the 2011 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner after a lifetime spent in baseball assembling championship teams and building treasured relationships. With a perpetual twinkle in his eye, Roland had a love for the game that was fueled by a respect and admiration for all who played it. He worked tirelessly to help baseball family members in need and never wavered in his commitment to serve. We extend our condolences to his wife, Margo, and the entire Hemond family.”

– Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman, Baseball Hall of Fame

Roland Hemond

Born: Oct. 26, 1929 at Central Falls, R.I.
Died: Dec. 13, 2021

Roland Hemond revolutionized front office management and strategy during a seven-decade career in baseball while spending his post-general manager days assisting baseball family members in need.

Hemond first rose to prominence in the late 1950s as the assistant scouting director for the Milwaukee Braves. Hemond helped assemble a Braves team that won National League pennants in 1957 and 1958, along with the 1957 World Series.

Hemond became the scouting director for the Los Angeles Angels in their debut season of 1961, remaining with the franchise until 1970, when he became the Chicago White Sox’s general manager. With the Sox, Hemond orchestrated a 31-game improvement over the course of the 1970-72 seasons, winning the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year award in 1972. Hemond remained the White Sox’s general manager through the 1985 season, assembling the team that won the 1983 American League West title. Hemond won his second Executive of the Year honor in 1983.

Hemond served as the president of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America, which provides financial assistance and college scholarships to current and former players, scouts and others connected with pro baseball. Hemond also helped found the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, designed to provide assistance to longtime scouts who are in need of special support.

Visit to read about Roland Hemond’s life and view a video tribute…

Chili Dog MVP Book Excerpts

Chapter 11: June 4, 1972 — Nancy Faust: The Soundtrack of the Sox

Chili Dog MVP Press Box: News & Media

The late Bart Johnson remembering Goose Gossage and Terry Forster

The Chicago Baseball Museum is presenting classic interviews from the archives of CBM historian George Castle’s “Diamond Gems” syndicated weekly baseball radio show, which aired from 1994 to 2010.

This edition features a 1998 interview with Bart Johnson, one of a trio of home-grown hard-throwers the White Sox produced at the dawn of the 1970s. Bart, nicknamed “Mr. Smoke,” recalls the start of his career and that of Hall of Famer Goose Gossage and lefty Terry Forster. Johnson went on to a three-decade-long run as a scout, thanks to support from Sox GM Roland Hemond.

We have a transcript of the interview. You can also listen to the interview at…

Chili Dog MVP Book Excerpts

Chapter 5: April 6, 1972 – John Allyn, the quiet savior of the Sox

Chili Dog MVP Book Excerpts

Chapter 1: June 4, 1972 — The Chili Dog Game