White Sox fire manager Jerry Manuel

Updated: September 29, 2003, 4:01 PM ET

CHICAGO - The Windy City's worst-kept secret became a reality on Monday when the Chicago White Sox announced the firing of manager Jerry Manuel.

After various reports circulated over the weekend that Manuel would not be retained, the White Sox made it official one day after they concluded the season with a 5-2 victory at Kansas City.

"We have nothing but the highest respect for Jerry Manuel, the person and the man," general manager Ken Williams said. "However, since reaching the playoffs in 2000 and despite high expectations, this team has not won enough baseball games."

The White Sox lost their final five meetings of the season with the Minnesota Twins, who went on to win the American League Central. The White Sox finished 86-76 and in second place in the division, four games behind the Twins.

After Sunday's game, Manuel talked like a manager who knew the end was near.

"I don't have any regrets," Manuel said. "For me personally, it was a tough summer, but I wouldn't trade anything for it. We had a chance to get it done against Minnesota and we didn't do it."

The 49-year-old Manuel had one year left on a contract extension he signed in February 2001.

The White Sox were the favorites to win the AL Central this year after adding pitchers Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch to a lineup that already included sluggers Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez.

But the White Sox started slowly and were just 25-33 on June 4. The team showed improvement and Williams acquiring Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett early in the summer.

Manuel appeared to have saved his job when the White Sox played well immediately after the All-Star break. Chicago, however, was just 25-28 since August 2.

The White Sox also did not take advantage of the bottom tier of the AL Central, posting an 11-8 mark against the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.

Manuel also came under fire for a curious decision in early September. The White Sox won the first two games of a three-game series against the New York Yankees. Mark Buehrle lobbied to pitch the finale, but Manuel went with rookie Neal Cotts, who allowed five runs in the first inning as the Yankees won, 7-5.

Williams did not announce an immediate successor, but said he hopes to have a replacement announced just after the World Series. The new manager will likely have a different team than the one under Manuel.

"Perhaps we have too many big swingers, we may have to get a few more grinders out there," Williams said.

Hired in November 1997 by then general manager Ron Schueler, Manuel was 500-471 in his tenure, his first as a major league manager. Manuel led the White Sox to the AL Central title in 2000 and was named AL Manager of the Year.

Facing heightened expectations, the White Sox finished third and second, respectively, the next two years.

"Jerry Manuel typifies class, character and integrity," Williams said. "He brought those attributes to the ballpark every day for six years for the White Sox regardless of the team's won-loss record at the time."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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