It was really strange when the Chicago White Sox hired Tony La Russa to be their new manager during the 2020-21 offseason. There were plenty of other great names out there to hire but Jerry Reinsdorf did his old friend a solid by signing him. It wasn’t Rick Hahn’s decision by all accounts but he seemed to be okay with it as the year went on.
Here we are following the 2021 season and Tony La Russa received some votes for American League Manager of the Year. He came in 6th place on the ballot with four second-place votes and three third-place votes for a total of 15 points.
Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays won the award after leading them to yet another AL East title. Scott Servais of the Seattle Mariners came in second and Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros came in third to round out the nominees.
Charlie Montoyo of the Toronto Blue Jays and Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox also finished ahead of La Russa in 4th and 5th place. AJ Hinch of the Detroit Tigers was the only other manager behind La Russa to receive votes for a total of seven managers.
In the National League, Gabe Kapler of the San Francisco Giants won Manager of the Year with his 107 win team. It was an outstanding year all around for all of these managers as they lead their teams to great success.
Tony La Russa was much better for the Chicago White Sox than many thought.
For Tony La Russa, 2021 was not easy. It started with the burden of being a hire that the fanbase didn’t like. Then he was hit with some huge injuries to consequential players in the White Sox lineup. Instead of allowing his team to fall out of it, he built them up and they went on a run. There were countless times throughout the season where you saw him doing the right thing to help the team win.
He also came to the defense of his players a lot. In particular, there was an incident where he ran out of the dugout to defend Jose Abreu. At 76 years old, doing that earned him over with a lot of the fanbase. We were able to see why he was a Hall of Famer before coming back.
La Russa will be back with the White Sox in 2022. This roster is loaded with talent and they aren’t done getting better as a team. Look for him to compete for this award as long as he continues to manage the White Sox.