CHICAGO – The second era of Tony La Russa in the White Sox dugout has officially come to an end.
On Monday, the Hall of Fame manager made it official, deciding not to return to the team for the 2023 season due to health-related issues.
His full statement is in the Tweet below.
This latest stint came a decade after he’d announced his first retirement while managing the St. Louis Cardinals at the end of their 2011 World Series championship season.
La Russa, who turns 78 on Tuesday, has been out of the dugout since late August after an issue with a pacemaker installed in February came up. At the advice of doctors, he did not return to manage the club in September and this first week of October, with Miguel Cairo serving as acting manager in his place.
Now the White Sox will begin their second search for a manager in under two years, with the club firing Rick Renteria after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after they reached the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
La Russa was a surprise choice to be his replacement since he’d been out of the dugout for a decade, serving in a few different front office roles with clubs since 2011. His hiring came 35 years after the White Sox fired the manager in June, 1986 by then general manager Hawk Harrelson.
Owner Jerry Reinsdorf wanted him back after that moment which he and some in the organization regretted since La Russa went on to win three World Series championships as manager of the Athletics (1986-1995) and Cardinals (1996-2011).
In his previous tenure with the club, La Russa managed from the middle of the 1979 season through June of 1986. During that time, he had four winning seasons and helped the club to the 1983 AL Western Dvision championship, the White Sox first postseason appearance since 1959.
An old school manager taking over a squad with the given mantra of “Change The Game” thanks to their enthusiastic style of play and celebrations, the White Sox went 93-69 in 2021 to capture the AL Central Division title. That was their first since 2008 while the club also made back-to-back postseasons for the first time in history.
Facing the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series, the White Sox lost in four games, with their only victory coming at Guaranteed Rate Field in Game 3.
This season, the White Sox were expected to win the AL Central for a second-straight season in a division where they appeared to be the clear favorite. But with few major offseason additions, injuries, inconsistent play, and some questionable decisions from La Russa, the club never reached form.
Because of that, the White Sox fell out of the lead in the division on April 21st and would never be in first place again as they struggled to find consistent success. In the midst of an eight-game losing streak in late September, the White Sox were eliminated from postseason contention and currently have a 79-80 record.
With Cairo leading the club now, the White Sox will finish their season with a three-game series against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field starting Monday evening.