The Chicago White Sox are looking to take a step forward next season, and they have now chosen the man to lead them in that direction, as the club has named Tony La Russa as their new manager.
La Russa, who last managed in the big leagues in 2011 with the World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals, was named as the team’s new skipper after former manager Rick Renteria was relieved of his duties following the Sox Wild Card Round loss to the Oakland Athletics.
“We are extremely excited about the future of this team,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox general manager/senior vice president, 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.”
The 76-year-old La Russa has previous experience with the White Sox, managing the team from 1979 to 1986. He then went on to prosperous years with the Oakland Athletics and the Cardinals, winning three World Series titles and three Manager of the Year awards.
Most recently La Russa worked as the Chief Baseball Officer for the Arizona Diamondbacks until 2017, then joined the Boston Red Sox as a special assistant to the GM. After Dave Dombrowski was fired by the Red Sox, La Russa became a senior advisor of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Angels.
“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.”
In his big league career, La Russa has 2,728 wins, third-most all time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.
The move may come as a surprise to White Sox fans, as La Russa has been one of the few candidates the team reportedly interviewed for the managerial post. He’ll take the reins of a team coming off its first playoff appearance in 12 years, and hoping to make the most of a contention window with young players like Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, as well as veteran stalwarts like Jose Abreu.