Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox made the unexpected move of firing manager Rick Renteria on the heels of the organization’s first playoff appearance in more than a decade. The White Sox now seem committed to following up that surprise with another, as it appears one of their top candidates to replace Renteria is none other than Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa. 

To wit, the White Sox have received permission to interview La Russa from the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he currently works as a special adviser, according to both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Alden Gonzalez of ESPN

La Russa, who celebrated his 76th birthday last week, has not managed since retiring after winning the 2011 World Series. (He did manage the 2012 All-Star Game.) He had spent the previous 33 seasons serving as the skipper for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Oakland Athletics, and yes, the White Sox, who he guided from 1979-86. 

Overall, La Russa amassed 53.6 winning percentage and won six pennants and three World Series championships. He can also be credited for helping to revolutionize bullpen management, with regards to both the modern closer and the left-handed specialist. (La Russa also reportedly had his own sign-stealing mechanism, proving that he was ahead of his time in all regards.)

While there’s no questioning La Russa’s storied career, he would be a curious choice for the White Sox. He hasn’t managed in nearly a decade, a period during which the game has changed in myriad ways, including the composition and deployment of bullpens. It’s unclear how well La Russa would be able to adapt to the new normal. It’s also unclear if he would be able to form meaningful relationships with players who, in some cases, are a half century younger than him.

Of course, advanced age hasn’t prevented Dusty Baker from guiding the Houston Astros to the American League Championship Series. The difference is that Baker, who is five years younger than La Russa, had managed as recently as 2017 before he landed the Astros job.


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