CHICAGO -- Rick Renteria appears to be the right man at the right time to manage the rebuilding White Sox. But if not for Robin Ventura, Chicago's manager from 2012-16, Renteria might not be here in more ways than one.
Ventura first contacted Renteria about working with the White Sox after Renteria was dismissed as the Cubs' manager following the 2014 season. Ventura eventually brought Renteria in as bench coach in '16, and it was Ventura who fully supported Renteria as the next manager when Ventura decided not to return.
That encouragement from his friend was important to Renteria.
"I certainly felt like I needed his blessing for me to consider this, because I did not come in here to displace him," Renteria told MLB.com during a recent interview. "We talked many nights, many days. His offering of advice to me was simply, 'Listen, if they decide that they maybe want to talk to you, consider the possibility.'
"And I needed to make sure that he was OK with it, if that was something that he was wanting me to consider. Obviously he mentioned it."
Ultimately, when teams consistently underachieve, managers usually don't last. But Renteria emphasized how Ventura did a great deal for the organization, how players enjoyed playing for Ventura and how he believes Ventura remains a part of the White Sox through and through. When Renteria made his way back to Chicago, it certainly was not as the manager-in-waiting, with Ventura in his last year contractually.
"That was never part of my equation," Renteria said. "I came in certainly to serve him and to serve the organization. Believe me, I would have freely walked away [if it was put to him in that way].
"It wasn't, which was good for all of us. Robin was, again, a very good friend while he was here with me. I got to know him. I still consider him my friend."
In becoming the 40th manager in White Sox history, Renteria also became the lone Hispanic skipper currently running a Major League team.
"I'm extremely proud of my heritage, and I'm proud to be considered by those on the outside as carrying a particular mantle, so to speak," Renteria said. "I hope that people are viewing us from the quality of the skill that we bring to the table, and that we also happen to be of a particular background.
"My job is just to be a manager for the Chicago White Sox. My job is do what is necessary to help us move forward as an organization."