Mayor Daley recognized for service

Mayor Daley recognized for service

Mayor Daley recognized for service
CHICAGO -- There was a time prior to Wednesday's contest between the Yankees and White Sox when both Richard M. Daley and Reggie Jackson were signing autographs near the U.S. Cellular Field home dugout.

And Daley had more fans waiting for his signature.

The Yankees have their Hall of Fame legend and Chicago has its own.

Daley, who served as mayor from 1989-2011, was in attendance as part of Mayor Daley Night at the ballpark, with the presentation of the 2011 Roland Hemond Award by Hemond himself during a pregame ceremony honoring Daley's 22 years of service to Chicago. But Daley doesn't need an excuse to watch his beloved White Sox in person.

"I grew up three blocks away. I was born and raised a White Sox fan," Daley said. "It's always, the fans are great. It's special. You walk in and you have no title. You are just a fan. Nobody walks around with any title in here."

That final comment was reiterated by Daley during a speech made to the fans upon receiving the award, a White Sox jersey from Mark Buehrle and a special White Sox golf cart, driven in by Southpaw and former slugger Ron Kittle. The White Sox established the Roland Hemond Award in 2003 to honor those who show a consistent dedication to bettering the lives of those around them. The award is bestowed upon those who offer extraordinary personal sacrifice for the benefit of others.

There also were plaudits for Chicago's former mayor coming from Ozzie Guillen during the manager's pregame media session.

"What can we do to honor this man? I think Mayor Daley put Chicago back on the map," Guillen said. "This is one of the best cities in the States, a very fun city to come to. This man did a tremendous job for the city and the last thing we can do is that. This man and his family, too, have been great for the city.

"Hopefully, the new mayor follows in his steps and makes the city still the same. This city has to get better because when you're around different countries and different cities and states, when you say you come from Chicago, people are very high on this town. There's nothing you can ask about this town that we don't have."

Having handled a few crises during his long run as Chicago's No. 1 city official, Daley was asked how he would turn around the struggling White Sox fortunes. He said that hope is still alive for Guillen's crew and a few wins in a row could put them right back in contention.

When asked about helping out struggling designated hitter Adam Dunn, Daley couldn't offer up any advice.

"I just feel sorry for him," Daley said. "I do. I think he's trying."

After the ceremony, which included a special video tribute, the Hemond Award honoree took in the contest with his family -- something he has done many times before.

"I'm here as a fan and I enjoy going to White Sox games at all times," Daley said. "I think of my mother and father and so many years going to the games with them and my family.

"It's a great honor from all the White Sox organization, the coaches, all the players, their families. It's something special."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Being Ozzie Guillen, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.