Tony La Russa took his doctor’s orders a step further Monday when he resigned as manager of the Chicago White Sox.
La Russa released a statement Monday explaining his decision to resign, which is related to health.
This news comes a week after La Russa did not return as White Sox coach for the rest of the season due to a doctor’s order. He was expected to be out “indefinitely” to see cardiac specialists earlier this month, and he said in his deposition that he had a pacemaker installed in February before spring training that needed to be updated. He was not allowed to administer again unless he was authorized.
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But a “second health problem” was discovered during a pre-pacemaker exam, and La Russa told the White Sox today that he has begun “a corrective plan” to help alleviate the problem.
“It has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process from this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the manager of the White Sox in 2023,” he said. “The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities.”
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The 77-year-old made sure to say that “at no time during the season did any problem negatively affect my responsibilities as manager of the White Sox.” But La Russa also acknowledges that his squad underperformed as the one-time AL Central contenders were eliminated from the postseason.
“Our team’s record this season is the ultimate reality. It’s an unacceptable disappointment,” La Russa said as the White Sox are 79-80 with three games left on the schedule. “There were some upsides, but too many downsides. In the big leagues, you either do it or you don’t. Explanations come as excuses. Respect and trust demand responsibility and during my managerial career, I understood that the ultimate responsibility of each the least belongs to the manager. I was hired to provide support and positive leadership that would make a difference. Our track record is proof. I didn’t do my job.”
La Russa also acknowledged the “Fire Tony” chants that the White Sox faithful had shouted from seats during games, saying they “come to games with a passion for our team and a strong desire to win.”
Fans questioned some decisions made during the season by the oldest manager in baseball. One example came in June when he intentionally walked Los Angeles Dodgers speedster Trea Turner despite having two strikes on him at bat.
In the end, La Russa is upset that he can’t bounce back with his team in 2023, but he knows the White Sox roster remains in good shape.
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“I am convinced that the process will be productive and the players will be receptive,” he said of the team trying to figure out what went wrong. “The future of this team remains bright.”
If this is the last time we see La Russa in the coaching chair, he will finish his 36-year coaching career with a 2,900-2,514 (.536) record with three different teams.
It started in 1979 when he led the White Sox to a close 27-27 record. He spent 10 years with Chicago, 10 with the Oakland Athletics, but neither was more successful than his time with the St. Louis Cardinals: 16 years going 1,408-1,182 (.544) with two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. he won a World Series with the Athletics in 1989.
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Miguel Cairo, La Russa’s bench coach, was appointed interim coach.