The Frontier League’s Windy City ThunderBolts announced on Wednesday that former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks has been named their 20th field manager in franchise history.
“Please join me in welcoming Bobby back to the Windy City as he pursues another championship for the South Side,” said team owner Brian Kahn.
Jenks, who will now be embarking on his second managerial stint, notably won the Pioneer League championship as manager of the Grand Junction Rockies in 2022. That season, the independent team finished with a 62-33 record as Jenks was named Pioneer League Manager of the Year.
The 42-year-old joins the ThunderBolts after spending the 2023 season as the Pitching Coach for the Princeton WhistlePigs of the Appalachian League, a collegiate wood bat league in collaboration with Major League Baseball. Jenks has also worked as a roving pitching instructor in the White Sox organization and spent time as Grand Junction’s pitching coach before taking over the helm.
“Putting aside his popularity on the South Side of Chicago, in three short years coaching, Bobby has shown to be a great mentor both on and off the field,” said General Manager Mike VerSchave. “His experience pitching at the highest level, in the highest pressure situations will be invaluable in molding our pitching staff. His title run in the Pioneer League shows his ability to put together a competitive team as well as run a fantastic clubhouse that will serve him well in our league.”
Jenks played in the majors for seven seasons from 2005-11, spending most of his time with the White Sox before shipping up to Boston for his final campaign. Most commonly known for his dominance during the 2005 World Series run, Jenks ranks third all-time in saves by a White Sox pitcher. He is also a two-time All-Star and formerly held the major league record for retiring consecutive batters (41).
Complications from a 2011 surgery to remove bone spurs in his back ultimately led to Jenks’ release from the Red Sox that following July and marked the end of his professional career. The right-hander finished his career with a 3.53 ERA, 173 saves, 3.21 FIP, 1.251 WHIP, and 1.31 K/BB ratio. He later sued the doctor who operated on him in 2015 for malpractice and eventually reached a $5.1 million settlement in 2019.
Jenks will make his debut as ThunderBolts manager on May 9, when the Bolts play host to the Evansville Otters on Opening Night at Ozinga Field.
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