Tony La Russa is heading back to the dugout. On Thursday, the Baseball Hall of Famer was named the new manager of the Chicago White Sox. This will be his second stint as the White Sox manager as he held the position from 1979-1986.
"My heart was always in the dugout," La Russa said during a media Zoom call with general manager Rick Hahn via MLB.com. "To that, when the first inquiry was made about the White Sox, I perked up because being frustrated, being upstairs, but more particularly, I think all managers would understand this, everybody would understand this, how rare it is to get an opportunity to manage a team that's this talented and this close to winning." This past season, the White Sox finished with a 35-25 record and reached the playoffs. They lost to the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card series, but La Russa likes what he sees in this team.
"Most of the time, your chances are the opposite," La Russa stated. "So the combination of looking forward to getting back down there and checking myself to have the energy and all that stuff, and the White Sox making the call with a chance to win sooner rather than later, I'm excited that they made that choice and looking forward to what's ahead.”
La Russa was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 after putting together one of the most successful careers of all-time. In his 33 seasons as a manager, La Russa won 2,728 games in 33 seasons. He won three World Series titles and won the Manager of the Year Award four times. His first World Series championship came in 1989 with the Athletics. He went on to win the title with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.
But as strong as a resume La Russa has, there are some questions about the hire. At 76 years old, La Russa is the oldest manager in MLB. Additionally, he hasn't been a manager since the end of the 2011 season, and his old-school approach might clash with the young talent on the roster. Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote: "He inherits a team brimming with young, dynamic talent - a team that, in many ways, represents a new epoch of baseball whose principles and priorities run antithetical to La Russa's."