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Monday, October 12, 2020

Opinion: Believe it or not, Hall of Famer Tony La Russa could be the next White Sox manager

The Chicago White stunned the baseball industry Monday morning when they announced the firing of manager Rick Renteria.

They could shock the world with their next hire.

The White Sox plan to reach out to one of the greatest managers in baseball history, who managed his last game in 2011, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame six years ago, and who is 76 years old.

The name: Tony La Russa


La Russa retired after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the 2011 World Series championship. After his managerial career, he went to work as a president of baseball operations for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was a special assistant in the front office for the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels.

La Russa has declined several managerial opportunities in the past, but this job opening, well, has him quite intrigued.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2020 at 04:28 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tony larussa, white sox

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2020 at 04:34 PM (#5982638)
Jack McKeon is available.
   2. The Duke Posted: October 12, 2020 at 04:38 PM (#5982641)
Can’t wait to see a woke TLR managing the Sox. Sounds like a good idea actually. The real question is whether TLR will sign up for the entire time their window is open. Making a 3-5 year commit at that age is hard.
   3. asinwreck Posted: October 12, 2020 at 04:42 PM (#5982643)
This is Jerry Reinsdorf having some fun with Bob Nightengale. I expect the next Sox manager to have been born after MLB spread to California.
   4. Dag Nabbit at Posted: October 12, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5982649)
I opt not to believe it.
   5. flournoy Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:07 PM (#5982650)
This is the least sad article written about a baseball Hall of Famer lately, so that's nice...
   6. Itchy Row Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:07 PM (#5982651)
DH has been a black hole for them the last couple of years. La Russa will fix that by putting Harold Baines back in the lineup.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:13 PM (#5982656)
I expect the next Sox manager to have been born after MLB spread to California.

and after MLB integrated, and after MLB spread to Baltimore, Washington DC, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Oakland, San Diego, Texas, Toronto, Seattle, Colorado, Miami, Arizona, and Tampa.

Tony has lived through all of that.
   8. asinwreck Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:23 PM (#5982658)
I remember when he was the youngest manager in the majors, the year Skylab crashed to earth.

Young, sexy Tony LaRussa.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:51 PM (#5982668)
The Skylab question was on Jeopardy last night (it was from 2017 but our channels are mighty desperate for "new" content right now) and none of them knew the answer. I felt old. (In Jeopardy style, they didn't actually need to know anything other than the fact that the first space station was called Skylab, not actually what year it went up or came down ... both of which I would have only had an educated guess at).
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5982670)
Tony LaRussa last managed the White Sox before Jose Abreu was born.
   11. Itchy Row Posted: October 12, 2020 at 05:59 PM (#5982672)
Tom Seaver started for the Sox the day they fired Tony La Russa. Seaver was a month younger than La Russa.
   12. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: October 12, 2020 at 06:24 PM (#5982676)
Young, sexy Tony LaRussa.
Kurt Russell clearly should have played him had a biopic ever been deemed necessary.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2020 at 08:19 PM (#5982702)
La Russa only really deserved a Topps card once - maybe - coming off a 123 PA but 57 OPS+ 1970 season.

wait, I'll concede the 1964 card, since the previous year he made the bigs at age 18 for 53 PA of 84 OPS+ as a "bonus baby" right out of high school who spent the whole season on the Kansas City A's roster.

yet he got one in 1968 in spite of spending all of 1964-67 in the minors and hitting .230 in 139 AB at Birmingham the year before. this was the time when the Players' Association was balking at Topps' frugality, so some very shaky subjects landed a card in the last series.

Topps apparently was so impressed with his .286 AVG for the Braves in 1971 - albeit in 7 AB - that he scored a third card. La Russa never got to the bigs in 1972, alas.

yet - as was not unusual for the bewildering annual player choices for Topps - he did NOT get a 1971 card off the majority of his 208 PA in MLB from 1963-73.

fun fact: La Russa is a former Cub, and a hero at that for his prowess on the bases.

On April 6, 1973 - Opening Day at Wrigley Field - Joe Pepitone led off with a single with the Cubs trailing the Expos, 2-1. Cleo James came in to run for Pepitone, and after HOFer Ron Santo reached on an error, La Russa made his Cubs debut by running for Santo.

Glenn Beckert then walks to load the bases, and Randy Hundley follows with a walk off Mike Marshall to tie the game as James scored. Don Kessinger fouled out and Jim Hickman fouled out, so maybe Tony would get in several innings in this debut.

Instead, La Russa now doubt was treated like a conquering emperor as he raced home - ok, walked home - with the winning run on the bases on balls to Rick Monday.

The Cubs were so impressed watching La Russa trot from second to third to home that he sat anchored to the bench for nine days before being demoted to AAA (to make room for another "La," returning-from-the-DL pitcher Dave LaRoche) - never to appear in the majors again.

I wonder how many players have scored the game-ending winning run in their final MLB appearance? and it's impossible to believe that anyone who did that can add the "Opening Day" twist to the mox.

there is a photo of La Russa scoring this run
   14. Walt Davis Posted: October 12, 2020 at 08:46 PM (#5982707)
Glenn Beckert then walks

That was a rarity, walking only once per 21 PA for his career -- yet still walked more often than he struck out. Box scores don't have pitch counts back that far but it wouldn't surprise me if that was something like a 12-pitch AB.
   15. Itchy Row Posted: October 12, 2020 at 08:51 PM (#5982709)
Glenn Beckert was another casualty of 2020. I get him mixed up with Ken Hubbs, so it’s kind of surprising he was still alive when everybody started dying.
   16. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 12, 2020 at 09:14 PM (#5982713)
Talk about a different era. I watched a 1985 game on YouTube one rainy day (Frank Tanana's first start as a Tiger, by the way). At one point, four straight hitters made first-pitch outs.

And there were no .230-hitting shortstops in the mix; the batters were Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Kirk Gibson, and Lance Parrish!
   17. Ron J Posted: October 12, 2020 at 10:29 PM (#5982726)
#14 Beckert was well known for his ability to put his bat on anything in the same time zone. Made him highly prized as the perfect #2 hitter.

I know that one source of the problems that Joe Morgan had with Harry Walker is that Walker wanted to turn Morgan into Beckert as a hitter.
   18. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 12, 2020 at 10:43 PM (#5982729)
It would be interesting to bring him back. New, interesting blood is always better than old, interesting blood. But at least it would be interesting.

If they do bring LaRussa back, I hope they bring back those 1983 uniforms, too. Those were the coolest. SOX.

LaRussa in those cool early 1980's SOX uniforms
   19. asinwreck Posted: October 13, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5982756)
If they just have him manage on Sundays, they don't need to make any adjustments to their uniforms.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2020 at 09:02 AM (#5982757)

If they just have him manage on Sundays, they don't need to make any adjustments to their uniforms.

Sunday Tony is the franchise's natural sequel to Sunday Teddy.
   21. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: October 13, 2020 at 10:02 AM (#5982763)
I don't know if he'd come out of retirement, but there's no reason the Sox first call should not be to Bruce Bochy.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 13, 2020 at 01:57 PM (#5982800)
Bruce Bochy managed the closest thing baseball's seen to a dynasty this century.

Asked about the White Sox job Tuesday, he said: "I'd listen to anything."

This is really turning the "Sure, I'd listen if the Red Sox called" BTF meme into a reality.
   23. something like a train wreck Posted: October 14, 2020 at 07:43 PM (#5983067)
It was a novelty thing, but Tony LaRussa managed Minnie Minoso [sp?]
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: October 14, 2020 at 08:21 PM (#5983073)
that whole Bochy retirement saga seemed odd.

yes, he was ending his time with the Giants - and that deserved plenty of recognition.

but the idea that he'd absolutely never manage again seemed to take on a life of its own, in spite of Bochy's own words.
   25. Jaack Posted: October 14, 2020 at 09:05 PM (#5983075)
that whole Bochy retirement saga seemed odd.

yes, he was ending his time with the Giants - and that deserved plenty of recognition.

but the idea that he'd absolutely never manage again seemed to take on a life of its own, in spite of Bochy's own words.

I doubt that Bochy was voluntarily retiring. It felt more like they were 'mutually parting ways' but they announced it a year earlier.

Interestingly, the Giants haven't technically fired a manager since... Roger Craig. They pulled a similar move with Felipe Alou where he 'retired' at the end of his contract and moved him into some sort of vague advisor position, and Dusty Baker had the whole awkward break up at the end of his contract where neither side seemed all that interested in staying together.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5983205)
Bobby Cox & Tommy Lasorda are available, although you might want to move quickly.

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