Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa leaves the dugout for good. La Russa announced his retirement as manager Monday, weeks after he left the Chicago White Sox after undergoing medical surgery on his pacemaker.
La Russa also announced that a “second health problem was also diagnosed” during a physical that would make it “impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023.” La Russa did not explain the “second medical issue” while asking for “privacy related to my health issues”. He added that “my overall prognosis is good.”
“This season, neither problem has negatively impacted my responsibilities as a White Sox manager,” La Russa said. “However, it has become clear that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health problem makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023.”
La Russa leaves the game as one of the most accomplished managers in MLB history. In 35 years as manager, La Russa won 2,897 games, claimed six pennants and won three World Series titles. Only Connie Mack has more wins as a manager.
La Russa’s management career spanned six decades. He spent his first eight and a half seasons with the White Sox. After being fired, La Russa joined the Oakland Athletics in 1986. Between 1988 and 1990, La Russa led the team to the World Series for three consecutive seasons. The team won everything in 1989.
In 1996, La Russa joined the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent 16 seasons with the team and only recorded three losing years. La Russa led the Cardinals to the World Series three times and won two. His last World Series win came in 2011. La Russa retired after the season.
After a decade away from managing, La Russa was tagged to lead the White Sox for the 2021 MLB season. The White Sox performed well in its first season, 93-69. The team lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Houston Astros.
White Sox disappoints in Tony La Russa’s final season
In 2022, everything fell apart. The White Sox stumbled out the gate and never came back. The team went 78-80 under La Russa and missed the playoffs, making them one of the biggest disappointments of the 2022 MLB season. La Russa received quite a bit of criticism for his unusual tactics. There were several instances where he walked batters with a 1-2 count.
“Our team’s record this season is the final reality,” La Russa continued. “It’s an unacceptable disappointment. There were some pluses, but too many minuses. In the big leagues you either do it or you don’t. …
“I was hired to provide positive, distinctive leadership and support. Our record is proof. I haven’t done my job.”
La Russa left the team at the end of August on prescription. He reportedly experienced a problem with his pacemaker, which was corrected by doctors. La Russa stayed away from the team for a few weeks at the orders of his doctor.
It looked like La Russa made a comeback in September, but more tests resulted in yet another procedure, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. It was determined that La Russa would not return for the remainder of the 2022 MLB season.
The White Sox got off to a hot start under interim manager Miguel Cairo but were swept in a crucial series against the Cleveland Guardians. The team sputtered from there, going on an eight-game loss streak and being eliminated in the postseason.
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