Tony La Russa, 76, a three-time World Series champion and a Hall of Famer, 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 with his third championship. At the time, La Russa, who has a 2,728-2,365 career record, became the first manager in major league history to retire after winning the World Series.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, La Russa joins Jack McKeon as the only managers in MLB history to take over a team at the age of 75-or-older. McKeon was 80 when he took over the Marlins in 2011.
La Russa began his managerial career with the White Sox from 1979 to 1986, when he was fired 64 games into the season by Jerry Reinsdorf, who purchased the team in 1981.
After he was fired, La Russa joined the Oakland Athletics later that season to jump-start what eventually became a Hall of Fame career. Reinsdorf has long regretted his 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.
He 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.
At the time, general manager Rick Hahn said Renteria and the front office had spoken “for years” about how the “final stages” of the team’s rebuild would go. Hahn 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 after parting with Renteria. “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,” Hahn 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.