USA TODAY Sports̵
PHOENIX – Chicago’s White Sox, who has never given serious thought to anyone else and has been persuading him to retire for the past three weeks, named Tony La Rousse, the three-time World Series champion, as his new manager on Thursday.
The 76-year-old La Rusa was last ruled in 2011 and has since turned down several management opportunities, but could not resist the White Sox when they attacked earlier this month.
In Chicago, there is speculation that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch is the preferred candidate after his removal after the World Series, but a senior White Sox official told USA TODAY Sports that he was never interviewed.
The official speaks on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the hiring process.
The only question was whether La Russa, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, was interested in returning to the daily routine of government.
Just the opportunity to come full circle, to help White Sox President Jerry Reinsdorf win another World Series title while inheriting a championship caliber championship, was too great for La Rusa to give up.
Hiring La Russa will be criticized for his age (he will be the oldest manager in baseball), time away from management, and the general shift to younger, more sensible managers. But those who have worked with him in other baseball roles over the past nine years say his insight has not faded.
“Although I have other inquiries about management since I retired, this opportunity with the White Sox brings together a number of important factors that make it the right time and place,” La Rousse said in a statement.
The White Sox were the team that gave La Russa his first managerial job in 1979 and was fired in 1986 by GM Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, and Reinsdorf later called it the worst decision the White Sox had ever made. .
To launch La Russa?
“No, about hiring Hawk,” Rheinsdorf said, laughing, “because he’s the man who fired Tony.”
Reinsdorf, 84, and La Rusa have remained best friends over the years, and when La Rusa decided to retire late in the 2011 season, he kept his decision a secret, letting few people into his plans.
Well, on the night of October 28, 2011, when St. Louis Cardinals of La Rusa defeated the Texas Rangers to win Game 7 of the World Series, guess who was on the pitch soaked on stage in honor of the glory of La Rusa.
When the White Sox decided to fire Rick Renteria after making several blunders in the area, costing them the AL Central title and losing the first round to Auckland A, the White Sox immediately turned to Los Angeles Angels for official permission to speak. with La Rusa, who was a senior adviser on baseball operations.
They made it clear to La Rousseau that it was his job if he wanted to, and it took him several weeks to decide if he was ready to return to a strict management lifestyle.
It also has a legacy for protection.
La Russa won the third most games in history with 2728, second only to Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). The older managers in the history of baseball are Mack, 87, and Jack McKeon, 80.
This is the only job that would entice him to retire, just to help him realize Reinsdorf’s dream of winning at least one more time.
Besides, to be honest, La Russa was bored. He worked for two years in the MLB office, assisting Joe Torre in field discipline. He was hired in May 2014 at Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was Chief Baseball Officer for three years. He spent three years as vice president of the Boston Red Sox, and last year with the Angels.
Still, he missed the game on the playing field and told friends in recent weeks that he felt rejuvenated.
“This hiring is not based on friendship or what happened years ago,” Reinsdorf said in a statement, “but on the fact that we have the opportunity to have one of the greatest managers in the history of the game in our dugout at the time. when we believe that our team is ready for great achievements. “
La Rusa plans to retain most of the current White Sox coaching staff, although it is exploring the possibility of attracting Harold Baines Hall of Fame. Baines, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, was on the White Sox coaching staff in 2004-2015.
La Rusa also spoke with longtime coach Coach Dave Duncan, 75, but Duncan plans to retire. The White Sox are expected to promote a boarding coach in the organization to replace Don Cooper, who was fired along with Renteria.
Will it work? Will the dream come true with Reinsdorf and La Rusa, who will ride the sunset together?
Time will tell, but it will certainly be worth watching.