CHICAGO – Forty-one years after beginning his managerial career with the White Sox, Tony La Russa is headed back to the South Side.
“We are extremely excited about the future of this team,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox general manager/senior vice president. “As we showed in 2020, this is a young, talented club that we expect to only grow better and better in the coming years. Adding in a Hall of Fame manager who is recognized as being one of the best in the history of the game, we are a step closer to our goal of bringing White Sox fans another championship.”
The Sox announced the hiring Thursday less than three weeks removed from parting ways with Rick Renteria.
“While I have had other inquiries about managing since retiring, this opportunity with the White Sox brings together a number of important factors that make this the right time and the right place,” La Russa said. “The on-field talent is amazing, and the front office, led by Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, has done everything necessary to create an atmosphere of long-term success. All of those factors aligned to make this a tremendous opportunity, and I am excited to get going as soon as possible by building a coaching staff and getting to work.”
“As everyone in baseball is well aware, I have always respected Tony and am proud to have maintained a great friendship with him over the decades in the game,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman. “But his hiring is not based on friendship or on what happened years ago, but on the fact that we have the opportunity to have one of the greatest managers in the game’s history in our dugout at a time when we believe our team is poised for great accomplishments.”
La Russa hasn’t managed since 2011, when he led St. Louis past Texas in the World Series. He also won a championship with the Cardinals in 2006 and another with Oakland in 1989.
The 76-year-old Hall of Famer is now the oldest manager in Major League Baseball by five years Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is the closest in age at 71.
La Russa is a combined 2,728-2,365 with six pennants over 33 seasons following stops in Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis and was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2014. Only Connie Mack and John McGraw have more victories.
He managed the White Sox to a 522-510 record over parts of eight seasons. La Russa led the 1983 team to 99 wins and the AL West championship. But he was fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson after the White Sox got off to a 26-38 start.
Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has long regretted that move and remains close with La Russa.