Newly hired Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa was charged with driving under the influence in Arizona in February after he ran his car into a curb, according to court documents obtained by ESPN's Jeff Passan, Paula Lavigne and Charlie Moynihan. La Russa's blood-alcohol content was 0.08. This arrest marks La Russa's second known DUI; he was arrested and later pleaded guilty in Florida in 2007. La Russa turned 76 years old in early October.
The White Sox issued a brief statement to ESPN, acknowledging they were aware of the incident but noting that they could not "comment further at this time" because it was an active case. Oddly, La Russa's charges were not officially filed until the day before he accepted the White Sox job. ESPN's report suggests the delay was likely caused by the pandemic.
According the police report, obtained by ESPN, La Russa tried to talk his way out of the charges, telling the arresting officer: "Do you see my ring? I'm a Hall of Famer baseball person. I'm legit. I'm a Hall of Famer, brother."
David Samson discussed La Russa's DUI on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
La Russa's hiring was already controversial within the industry, as it was viewed as a potentially out-of-touch move called for and supported by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf alone. La Russa has not managed on a full-time basis since the 2011 season, and although there's no questioning his past credentials, it's unclear whether he'll be able to adjust to the strategical and societal shifts that have occurred since he last graced a big-league dugout and clubhouse.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports that a team spokesperson confirmed they were aware of La Russa's arrest before hiring him.
La Russa, by the way, opted against taking responsibility for his actions when reached by ESPN. Instead, he hung up after saying, "I have nothing to say."