MLB: La Russa steps down as manager of White Sox

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 04 2022 09:17 AM

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is seen at the top of his teams dugout during their game against the New York Yankees in the top of the fifth inning of their MLB game in the Bronx, New York, USA, 23 May 2021. Jason Szenes, EPA-EFE
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is seen at the top of his teams dugout during their game against the New York Yankees in the top of the fifth inning of their MLB game in the Bronx, New York, USA, 23 May 2021. Jason Szenes, EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON -- Tony La Russa, who guided three Major League Baseball championship teams, said Monday he is stepping down as manager of the Chicago White Sox over health issues that have sidelined him since August.

The 77-year-old has not managed a game since doctors told him on August 30 he needed more tests related to a heart issue.

La Russa, who turns 78 Tuesday on the eve of the final day of the season, stepped away from the team because of an issue with a pacemaker installed in February.

A second issue, discovered during medical exams and not disclosed by La Russa, forced him into an indefinite leave.

"While I was inactive with the pacemaker, the second issue was analyzed," he said. "The result is that a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and implementation has begun.

"My overall prognosis is good, and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me with well wishes related to my health."

While La Russa said his issues did not impact his responsibilities as White Sox manager, he could not move forward in the role.

"It has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023," La Russa said.

"The timing of this announcement now enables the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities."

La Russa managed the Oakland A's to the 1989 World Series crown and guided the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title in 2006 and 2011, after which he promptly retired.

- Surprise return from retirement -

La Russa, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, served as an MLB executive and in various roles for clubs for a decade until returning to a managerial role with the White Sox last year, becoming the oldest manager in the major leagues and the first Hall of Famer to step back into such a post.

The White Sox went 93-69 last year to win the American League Central division crown but lost to Houston in the playoffs.

This season, the White Sox are 79-80 and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

La Russa guided Chicago to a 63-65 record this year, leaving his career MLB mark at 2,882-2,495.

"Our team's record this season is the final reality. It is an unacceptable disappointment," La Russa said. "There were some pluses, but too many minuses.

"I understood that the ultimate responsibility for each minus belongs to the manager. I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record is proof. I did not do my job."

La Russa was disappointed at feeling the team had slipped back after making major gains in 2021.

"In 2022, we have some movement in the wrong direction. The key now is to figure out what is right versus what is wrong," he said.

"I'm convinced that the process will be productive and the players will be receptive. The future for this team remains bright.

"I'm sincerely disappointed that I'm leaving without the opportunity to finish what I was brought in to do. I still appreciate the chance to come back home to the White Sox and leave today with many more good memories than disappointments."

© Agence France-Presse