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‘I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone other than him’: Ken Williams and Rick Hahn on their time in the Chicago White Sox front office

Ken Williams and Rick Hahn were together when the Chicago White Sox reached baseball’s pinnacle, winning the 2005 World Series.

Williams was the general manager at the time and Hahn the assistant GM. In October 2012, Williams became the executive vice president with Hahn promoted to GM.

The Sox went through a rebuild after the 2016 season in the hopes of that ultimate success again. It didn’t pan out that way, with the team in a free-fall this season. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf fired Williams and Hahn on Tuesday.

Both released statements late Tuesday, reflecting on their long tenures in the organization.

“Rick Hahn, my friend,” Williams said in part of his statement. “We didn’t accomplish what we set out to do, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone other than him. He is one of the smartest people I know and I am confident, if given the chance, I will see him reach the pinnacle of success.

“We managed to always find a laugh even in the darkest of times, and I will always cherish our time together.”

Williams didn’t plan on releasing a statement, saying “I’m not really a ‘Statement’ kind of guy,” but he felt compelled after receiving many messages, adding “I never knew so many people had my number.”

“I thank Jerry Reinsdorf for the opportunity he gave me to head baseball operations and will forever be proud of the World Series championship we all celebrated together,” Williams said. “At my inaugural (news conference), I spoke of winning multiple championships. That was my goal, our goal, and we failed. I am a bottom line guy, and the bottom line is we didn’t get it done. This is what happens as a result.

“There is a lot of talent on this club, and I wish the players, (manager) Pedro (Grifol) and the coaching staff the best in reaching their goals. I believe they will rebound and give the baseball world a great 2024 campaign.”

Williams joined the front office in 1992 as a scout. The Sox reached the postseason five times overall during his tenure as director of minor-league operations (1995-96), vice president of player development (1997-2000), GM (2001-12) and executive vice president.

“To my former players and staff who have reached out since the announcement, I cannot tell you how much those texts and sentiments mean to me,” he said. “I know that not everyone has warm and fuzzy feelings about me, but I tried to be honest and fair with everyone at every turn. At times, admittedly, maybe a little too direct.

“Sometimes I hit the mark and sometimes I missed the mark on my messaging, but there wasn’t a player who walked through our doors I didn’t care about or wished the best in his baseball career and family life.”

Hahn said in a statement he will “forever be indebted” to Reinsdorf and Williams “for giving me the opportunity almost 23 years ago to realize my dream of working for a major league team.”

“Their faith, support and mentoring allowed me to grow both as an executive and as a person while with the White Sox, and I look forward to our continued friendship for many years to come,” Hahn said.

“Additionally, I cannot thank enough the gifted coaches, scouts, analysts, sports performance professionals, and front office staff for their tireless work and dedication to the club. Because of them, I firmly believe that many vital ingredients of a championship team are in that clubhouse and within the minor-league system.”

Hahn joined the organization in October 2000 as assistant GM. During his stint as the GM, the Sox made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons (2020-21) for the first time in franchise history.

“I will be rooting for the Sox to win that next championship soon — as loyal White Sox fans deserve nothing less,” Hahn said.

In the release announcing the changes, Reinsdorf thanked Williams and Hahn for “for all they have done for the Chicago White Sox.”

Williams said of Reinsdorf: “I lived our World Series victory through his eyes and emotions. We’ve shared many of life’s triumphs and tragedies and as I told him when he gave me the news of his decision, nothing changes with us. I will be there for him as I always have been and respect his decision to look for a new voice to lead the organization. He deserved better.”