The Chicago White Sox have hired Tony La Russa to be their next manager. The team made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.
Tony La Russa, a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the third-winningest manager in baseball history, a three-time World Series champion and a four-time winner of the Manager of the Year Award, has been named the new manager of the Chicago White Sox. pic.twitter.com/RKP24rleHP— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) October 29, 2020
La Russa, 76, hasn't managed since winning the 2011 World Series with the Cardinals. He jumps past Astros skipper Dusty Baker (age 71) for the title of the oldest manager in baseball. The oldest manager in MLB history was Connie Mack, who worked until he was 87.
Though it's been a while since La Russa pulled the strings in the dugout, he's one of the more decorated managers in recent MLB history. He started with the White Sox in 1979, managing parts of eight seasons with them. He also managed parts of 10 years with the Athletics and 16 full years with the Cardinals. Along the way, he won 12 division titles, six pennants and three World Series championships.
"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," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said.
Only Mack and John McGraw have won more games than La Russa's 2,728 and he's only 25 away from tying McGraw. When it comes to playoff win, only Joe Torre's 84 are more than La Russa's 70. Only five managers have won more World Series or pennants than La Russa.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Now, the question is, how will La Russa's skills translate after nine seasons of not doing the job, especially with such a young and talented team. Heading into 2020, the White Sox hadn't had a winning record since 2012, but they went 35-25 this season. The core includes veteran MVP candidate Jose Abreu, veteran Cy Young contender Dallas Keuchel, other star caliber veterans like Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal and Lucas Giolito along with exciting and talented youngsters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. There are plenty of reasons for excitement with the White Sox moving forward.
"We are extremely excited about the future of this team," general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "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."
They were bounced from the wild card round after losing to the third-seeded A's and it was enough to get Rick Renteria fired. Renteria was previously fired from the Cubs managerial job in favor of Joe Maddon, who went on to win the World Series with the Cubs two years later. Though Renteria's Cubs record was 73-89, the situations have some similarity with an up-and-coming team looking to take the next step with a new manager.
Time will tell if that's La Russa, but he's the one White Sox brass have chosen.