GLENDALE, Ariz. – Long-time White Sox executive Roland Hemond has been selected as the recipient of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hemond is the second winner of the prestigious honor, given to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball’s positive impact on society. He will receive the honor in Cooperstown on July 23, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend.
Hemond, 81, became the White Sox general manager in 1970 and won the Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year award in 1972. He was the Sox general manager through the 1985 season, putting together the team that won the 1983 American League West title by 20 games. In ’83 he won his second Executive of the Year honor.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a shortstop during his playing days, was acquired by Hemond from the San Diego Padres before the 1985 season.
“It couldn’t go to a better guy,” Guillen said. “This guy does so much for baseball and it’s a great, great honor. I think Roland is a tremendous baseball man. When you talk about front-office people and people doing a lot of good things in the game, that name’s going to come up very high. I’m very happy because he’s a big part of the White Sox organization. He’s the one who brought me here. He’s the one that took the chance and brought me here and gave me the opportunity to make me who I am.”
Hemond, who has had a 60-year career in baseball, also helped build winning franchises in Arizona and Baltimore.
“When you read a description of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award — character, integrity, dignity, extraordinary efforts and positive impact — you truly are reading a description of Roland Hemond,” Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement released by the White Sox. “No one in baseball is more deserving of this honor, so it is very appropriate that Roland follows Buck as the second recipient.
“From his achievements over 23 years as a general manager, his impact on the game through programs like the Major League Baseball employee pension plan and forward-thinking ideas like the creation of the Arizona Fall League, Roland has left a lasting impression on the game.
“But the award is about even more than lasting accomplishments. It also recognizes and honors the attitude, optimism and positive approach Roland brought to the ballpark each and every day and the wonderful friendships he has maintained within the game and with literally thousands of baseball fans over the years.”
Said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:
“Roland Hemond has touched the lives of so many throughout the baseball family in his 60-year career, always exemplifying the traits that made Buck O’Neil such a revered figure in our sport’s history. The Board’s decision to award Roland with this tremendous honor recognizes the profound impact he has had on the game, for his baseball intelligence as a keen talent evaluator and in building winning teams, to the universal respect he has earned for mentoring generations of baseball executives, past and present.”