After nearly a decade out of the dugout, 76-year-old Tony La Russa, who currently serves as the senior adviser of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Angels, may be resuming his career as a manager. And he may be doing it with the team that gave his first managing job, the Chicago White Sox.
Following a disappointing end to their 2020 season, the White Sox parted ways with manager Rick Renteria earlier this week and have reportedly received permission from the Angels to interview La Russa, who last served as a manager in 2011, a season in which he led the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title.
Since leaving the Cardinals, Tony La Russa has held executive roles with Major League Baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Boston Red Sox, and, of course, the Angels. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, who also spent six seasons in the big leagues as a player, still seems to be very passionate about the game and is viewed by many as one of the greatest managers in MLB history.
Tony LaRussa began his managerial career with the Chicago White Sox
Five years after his final game as a player, Tony La Russa was given his first job as a manager by the Chicago White Sox organization in 1978. La Russa managed the team’s Double-A affiliate, the Knoxville Sox, for half a season before joining the big club midway through the year when the White Sox fired Bob Lemon and replaced him with Larry Doby. Doby was then fired at the end of the season and replaced by Don Kessinger, who served as a player-coach to begin the 1979 campaign. La Russa began that season as the manager of the Triple-A Iowa Oaks but was made the manager in Chicago when the White Sox fired Kessinger in late June.
Tony La Russa was named American League Manager of the Year in 1983 when he led the Sox to the ALCS but was fired less than three years later after Chicago got off to a 26-38 start to begin the 1986 season. In parts of eight seasons with the White Sox, La Russa posted a record of 522-510.
He led the Oakland A’s to a World Series title in 1989
Less than three weeks after being fired by the White Sox, Tony La Russa was named the manager of the Oakland A’s in late July 1986, with whom he’d spent parts of five seasons as a player.
It certainly didn’t take long for the A’s to become contenders under La Russa’s management. Oakland made their first World Series appearance in 14 years in 1988, a season in which La Russa was named AL Manager of the Year, but lost to the Dodgers in five games. The following season, the A’s won the World Series by sweeping the Giants, a series most remembered for being delayed due to the earthquake that occurred just before the start of Game 3. La Russa and the A’s were huge favorites in the 1990 World Series but were swept by the Reds.
Tony La Russa won his third AL Manager of the Year award, his second with the A’s, in 1992 by leading Oakland to its fourth AL West title in five years before losing to the Blue Jays in the ALCS. He managed the A’s for three more seasons and ended his career in Oakland following the 1995 season. In 10 seasons with the A’s, he amassed a record of 798-673.
Tony La Russa managed the St. Louis Cardinals for 16 seasons and won two World Series
Tony La Russa joined the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of the 1996 season, replacing interim manager Mike Jorgensen, who managed 96 games after the team fired Joe Torre during the 1995 season. Torre, of course, went on to win four World Series titles as the manager of the New York Yankees.
In his first season in St. Louis, La Russa led the Cardinals to a division title, the team’s first since 1987. St. Louis lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS in seven games. La Russa and the Cardinals returned to the postseason in 2000 and made the playoffs in six of seven seasons, a stretch that included two World Series appearances. St. Louis lost to the Red Sox in 2004 and defeated the Tigers in 2006.
Tony La Russa led the Cardinals to another World Series win in 2011, his last season with the team. In 16 seasons in St. Louis, La Russa posted a record of 1,408-1,182. His 2,728 career wins as a manager are good for third on the all-time list behind only John McGraw (2,763) and Connie Mack (3,731).
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference