The Chicago White Sox have announced that Tony La Russa will be their new manager.
On Thursday afternoon the Chicago White Sox announced what many of us have been in fear of since the report came out, Tony La Russa will be the new manager for the team. After a nine-year layoff from coaching, La Russa is coming back as an MLB manager.
Bob Nightengale first reported that there was interest in hiring him but many fans, myself included, didn’t give much credibility to it. Unfortunately, that became a reality and it seems like he was the favorite all along.
With names like A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, and Sandy Alomar floating around I certainly thought they go in that direction on the southside. I feel bad for Rick Hahn, this seems to be a decision that was influenced by the relationship between Tony and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
La Russa of course, managed the Sox for nine years, from 1979 to 1986 which was his first manager job. He had some up and down seasons but had the team playing great from 1982 to 1985. Including a 99 win season in 1983, which is widely regarded as one of the best seasons ever for the franchise.
La Russa was eventually fired by then Sox GM Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. He then went on to major success with the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals. He won multiple pennants and a World Series for each team.
The resume of Tony La Russa speaks for itself, however, the man hasn’t been a manager since his World Series title with the Cardinals in 2011. Many thought that’s how he would go out as a coach because it’s the storybook ending many athletes and coaches love.
Many people think he stepped away from the game but that is actually not the case. He has been working with the Los Angeles Angels’ front office for a number of years now. Looking at what the Angels have done recently, nothing about them screams hire Tony La Russa.
The Chicago White Sox had their best season in over a decade. They made the playoffs after a 12-year drought and look to be set up for a great future with all of their young talents. Hiring a 76-year-old manager who hasn’t managed in 9 years is not the direction this team should be going in.
Baseball as a whole has evolved quite a bit since La Russa coached last. Shifting is much more prevalent in today’s game as is looking at things like launch angle and exit velocity. These are things that were never measured when Tony last managed.
La Russa was a great manager in his time, one of the best actually but I don’t think he is even close to the right man for the job. Not only is his coaching philosophy from a different time but culturally, is a completely different type of person from the ballplayers on the team.
The Sox are a couple of pieces away from having something really special in the southside which is usually never the case. Hiring Tony La Russa just seems like they’re putting square pegs into a round hole.