White Sox manager Tony La Russa announces retirement

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa
image: beautiful pictures

After two seasons leading the Chicago White Sox, Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa resigned Monday due to health concerns. La Russa has one year left on her three-year contract.

La Russa last managed a game on August 28 after undergoing tests in an undisclosed condition. On September 24, La Russa officially announced that he would not be returning this season for further treatment. La Russa plans to take over in 2023, and even spent time with the team while in Oakland, where he once managed, for Dave Stewart’s shirt retirement. However, La Russa is said to have come to a decision after doctors advised him not to take on strict managerial duties for another season.

La Russa released a statement Monday night detailing the reasoning behind his sudden retirement.

“This February, I was fitted with a pacemaker and the doctors told me to start exercising in the spring as scheduled. Subsequent periodic checks of the device identified the problem. During batting practice on August 30, I was informed of the problem, I was given my uniform by the doctors and examined the next day. The solution was to update the pacemaker in Arizona and let me not return as a manager without a medical certificate. During an annual private examination after the first day of the year, a second health problem was also diagnosed. I decided to delay confronting it until the end of the season. While I did not work with a pacemaker, the second issue was analyzed. As a result, a remedial plan was developed by my medical team and implementation began. I informed the White Sox of this latter matter while I was not agreeing to deal with the pacemaker. “

At 78, La Russa retires as one of the most successful managers in MLB history, with 2,889 wins, more than all but one manager in MLB history. However, he ran out of time in Chicago and left on his own terms before they could kick him out. La Russa, who was hired by longtime friend Jerry Reinsdorf in 2021, has been with him throughout his tenure as manager.

La Russa’s return to Chicago was viewed as Reinsdorf making-up for firing a young La Russa in 1986. After departing the Southside of Chicago, La Russa embarked on a stretch in which he won three World Series titles and 13 division titles. Unfortunately, he was unable to bring that magic back to Chicago with him. He was seen dozing off during a game, distrusted analytics, opting for traditional instincts and made questionable managerial decisions that flummoxed fans.

La Russa joined a club that reached the postseason for the first time since 2008. However, the team’s trajectory plunged. The White Sox won the 2021 American League Central title, but with a lower winning percentage than they did during the abbreviated 2020 campaign. In 2022, the White Sox spent a handful of days sniffing first place in early April, but have been staring up at the Cleveland Guardians since for much of the season. La Russa ends his second stint as White Sox manager with a 172-149 record, but in his statement, lamented being unable to finish the job after an underwhelming 2022 season.

“Finally, I am sincerely disappointed that I am leaving without the opportunity to finish what I was brought in to do.” La Russa said. “I still appreciate the chance to come back home to the White Sox and leave today with many more good memories than disappointments”


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