Tony La Russa, 76, a three-time World Series champion, is the new manager of the Chicago White Sox, the team announced Thursday.
La Russa hasn’t served as a major league manager since ending a 16-year run with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, a season that culminated in La Russa’s third championship. La Russa, who has a 2728-2365 managerial record, became the first manager in major league history to retire after winning the World Series that same season.
La Russa began his managerial career with the White Sox from 1979 to 1986. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf purchased the team three years into that stretch and fired La Russa 64 games into the 1986 season, then watched him join the Oakland Athletics later that season to trigger what eventually became a Hall of Fame career. Reinsdorf has long regretted that decision.
After his run with the Cardinals, La Russa took on executive roles with Major League Baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels, who hired him as a senior adviser to baseball operations after the 2019 season.
La Russa takes over for former White Sox manager Rick Renteria, whom the organization agreed to part ways with on Oct. 12. Renteria guided the White Sox to a 35-25 record in 2020 and the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2008. Chicago lost 2-1 to the Athletics in the wild-card round.
General manager Rick Hahn said at the time that Renteria and the front office had spoken “for years” about how the “final stages” of the White Sox’s rebuild would go. He also said the move wasn’t precipitated by anything Renteria did in 2020, including a controversial pitching move in the playoffs or the team faltering down the stretch after having a slight lead in the division.
“This isn’t about any of the decision-making in Game 3 of the wild-card series,” Hahn said at the time. “This isn’t about anything that happened over the last couple of weeks after we clinched our position into the playoffs. This is based upon where we are as an organization and what we need to do to take that next step.”
While Hahn wouldn’t shed any light on who the team was interested in as it embarked on its search, he shared the type of person the team was looking for.
“Ultimately, I think the best candidate or the ideal candidate is going to be someone who has experience with a championship organization in recent years; recent October experience with a championship organization,” he said.
Although La Russa hasn’t been in the dugout since 2011, he was with the Red Sox as a vice president and special assistant to Dave Dombrowski, then the team’s president of baseball operations, when Boston won the 2018 World Series.
ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez and Jesse Rogers contributed to this report.