TONY La RUSSA
Image of TONY
Nickname:   TONY Position:   MANAGER
Home: N/A Team:   WHITE SOX
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   R
Weight: 185 Throws:   R
DOB: 10/4/1944 Agent: Casey Close-Creative Artists
Uniform #: N/A  
Birth City: Tampa, FL
Draft: 1962 - Kansas City A's - Out of Tampa American Legion
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
1970 AL ATHLETICS   52 106 6 21 4 1 0 6 0 0 15 19 .301 .255 .198
1971 NL ATHLETICS   23 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000
1971 NL BRAVES   9 7 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .375 .286 .286
Personal
  • La Russa and Lou Piniella grew up together in Tampa, Florida, and lived about a mile apart. They played on the same American Legion teams.

  • It started with a pair of first generation immigrants, Antonio La Russa and Oliva Cuervo, Sicilian and Spanish, who met while working in a Tampa cigar factory, married and had two children, including a son they called Tonie for short.

    "My first language was Spanish," Tony said. "When I was 6 and ready to enter grammar school, they had to teach me English."

    There was a big extended family, grand-parents and aunts and uncles and cousins, often coming together in a local park on a Sunday afternoon. La Russa's father worked six days a week. Tony would rise at 5:00 a.m. Saturday mornings and join his dad as he made his deliveries in his truck.

    "I had a great upbringing," La Russa said. "I was blessed. I still am."

  • When Tony's playing days were over, he had just started law school at the Florida State as a part-time student.

    "I would go two quarters, and they allowed me to drop out to play baseball, and then I'd get readmitted in September," La Russa recalled. I was convinced I was going to be a lawyer. I graduated from law school in 1978, but my wife, Elaine, and I decided I should take a managing job in the minors to get (baseball) out of my system.

    "The White Sox gave me the opportunity, and I spent half the year at Double-A Knoxville. At the end of the year they hired Don Kessinger for the 1979 season, and I got the job in Des Moines (Triple-A). And in August of 1979, they offered me the White Sox job (after Kessinger resigned). This was a shocker. I thought I was going to be a lawyer, but here it is (over 30 years later)."

  • Tony has a law degree.
  • In 1973, Tony's marriage to Luzette Sarcone fell apart after eight years. Two psychologists advised—with agreement by both sides—that La Russa have "no personal or telephonic contact" with his two daughters, five-year old Andrea and four-year-old Averie, until they could make an "independent determination" about his role in their lives.

    By all accounts, he has never had a relationship with them. The 2007 Cardinals media guide lists only La Russa's 34-year marriage to his second wife, Elaine, and their two daughters, Bianca and Devon.

    In a 1995 lawsuit dismissed by a New York Supreme Court judge, Andrea and Averie demanded $16 million for the emotional distress of having been refused a relationship. 

    Since the divorce, they have met with their father once, in 1995, in a Manhattan hotel, with lawyers present.

    "The lawsuit was a plea for attention, for acknowledgment," Andrea and Averie wrote in an e-mail. "We realize now that that may not have been the best way to handle the situation, but we were so hurt and angry. We guess we never understood how he—who by many accounts is a great Dad to our half-sisters, a family man, a rescuer of animals—how he could have left his first two daughters and never looked back."

    Tony attributes the breakup to discord between two dissimilar people who married young. "If it's a mistake and you stay there, I mean, there was going to be suffering," he says. "And the longer you stay, the more suffering there is for everybody." His only regret? "I regret that there's three women that I affected. If I hadn't gotten married, that wouldn't be true." (S.L. Price-Sports Illustrated-6/04/07)

  • Tony and his second wife, Elaine, eat only natural, organic food and grow their own vegetables.
  • They eat no sugar or meat but a lot of pasta. 
  • Elaine teaches the girls at home, choosing not to send them to public school. She and Tony feel they get a better education with the home program.
  • His most outstanding managerial job may have been in 1992, when just keeping the Oakland A's together would have been a positive.

  • In 1994, Tony brought 14 pets to spring camp: 9 cats, 3 dogs, and 2 rats.

    TONY'S DAD

  • Tony's father, Anthony, died April 9, 2002 in Tampa, Florida at age 90. Tony got to spend a lot of time with his Dad during spring training. He had been sick for a long time.
  • La Russa's father wasn't involved directly in baseball when his son was growing up, but La Russa recalled his father never missed a game when he played, and paying close attention to the box scores when his son was managing in the Big Leagues.

    "When I was in Chicago, Oakland or St. Louis, there have been a lot of guys who have met him over the years and they were always amazed at his understanding of the game," La Russa said. "He would read those box scores and know exactly what the pivotal moments were."

    In his work life, La Russa said, his father "was a Monday to Saturday, early morning to late afternoon worker. He started out as an iceman, delivering blocks of ice. He worked in a bakery. And for 20-plus years, he did a wholesale route for a milk company, delivering to stores and restaurants."

  • As the 2002 season barely passed it's midpoint, La Russa had buried his father, lost his godfather and his friend Jack Buck. And he went through the terrible Darryl Kile tragedy. Yet his team was in first place because of gutty performances from strong professionals.

    After the Cardinals won their last game before the All-Star break, July 7, 2002, the intensity of his emotions pierced La Russa's normally tough shell. He sat at his desk, still in uniform, and buried his face in his hands and he cried. Tony cried because he was sad. And he cried because he was happy for his team's resilience. All of his emotions came together.

    CAT PERSON

  • Sports columnist John McGrath wrote in the Tacoma News Tribune in 2002: During an otherwise forgotten 1990 game between the Yankees and La Russa's Athletics, a stray cat wandered onto the field and eluded capture by umpires not inclined to exercise patience with clever felines. At first the scene was the stuff of a video-board bloopers video, but when La Russa finally coaxed the animal into the dugout, he realized how utterly terrified it was.

    La Russa named the cat "Evie," and made plans to put it in an abandoned-pet shelter, only to learn that if an adoption wasn't imminent after a few days, nobody in the shelter could guarantee Evie's survival.

    The homeless cat who interrupted a game became Tony La Russa's cue to make a difference. In 1991, La Russa and his wife, Elaine, created the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), a private, non-profit organization based in Walnut Creek, Calif. Employing 20 full-time staffers and 600 volunteers in 50 states, ARF last year found homes for 1,185 dogs, cats and small animals abandoned in California's Contra Costa County. What was conceived as a humble shelter with a no-kill policy now is looming as a 39,000 square-foot stray pet palace scheduled to open in July 2003.

    La Russa is especially enthusiastic about an ARF program that enables abandoned pets to serve as companions for everybody from shut-ins and at-risk teens to those with mental and physical disabilities. "It's all about rescue," La Russa said. "We're all familiar with the notion of people rescuing pets. But the really exciting thing is what we're finding out on the flip side—how pets can help rescue people. "There's no machine involved. There's no pills. It's just this magical interaction that takes place when people in need are matched up with animals whose loyalty is unconditional."

  • In 1998, Tony's daughter, Bianca, was assaulted on the Moraga, Calif., campus of St. Mary's College. The incident was reported to police in 1999. Adam Shahoian, 24, was charged with two counts of assault in July 2000 and has been free on bail since.

    La Russa and his wife, Elaine, have two daughters—Bianca and Devon. La Russa left the club several times during the process to be with his family, including a March 1999 exhibition game and again in July 2000 to attend Shahoian's arraignment. Until the announcement that La Russa was leaving the club, his family's connection to the case hadn't been publicly disclosed until March 2003. Shahoian is the son of a former family friend. Adam Shahoian pleaded no contest on March 7, 2003.

  • March 22, 2007: La Russa was arrested on a drunken driving charge after police said they found him asleep inside his running sport utility vehicle at a stop light. Tony gave two breath samples and had a blood alcohol content of 0.093 percent, Jupiter police said in a statement. Florida's legal driving limit is 0.08 percent.

    Undercover officers saw La Russa's SUV sitting partially in an intersection around midnight and not moving despite two green lights, police said. Officers knocked on the window and La Russa did not initially respond.

    The SUV was in drive and running, with La Russa's foot on the brake, police said. When he woke up, the officers asked him to get out of the SUV. La Russa was cooperative during his arrest, police said.

    La Russa admitted to having two glasses of wine at a dinner with friends, which came after an exhausting 48-hour period involving little sleep, a day game after a night game, and a quick trip to New York City for a fundraiser. No matter: To a man obsessed with maintaining an aura of authority, few events could strike a more damaging blow than the out-of-control implication of a drunken-driving arrest.

    The hearing concerning Tony's arrest was scheduled for November 28, 2007 in Palm Beach County, Florida. He pleaded guilty, saying, "I accept full responsibility for my conduct, and assure everyone that I have learned a very valuable lesson and that this will never occur again," La Russa said in a statement released by his attorney, David Roth.

    As part of his plea agreement, La Russa will serve at least six months' probation, pay a $678 fine, complete DUI school, and any recommended treatment, and complete 50 hours of community service.

  • Speaking at his 2014 Hall of Fame induction, without looking at his notes, La Russa made it clear during his 17-minute talk that his unease at taking credit for all those accomplishments is rooted in a deep conviction that he benefited from an uncommonly good support system.

    Tony La Russa had just been hired to manage the Double-A Knoxville Sox in 1978, the first step on a journey that led to his induction into the Hall of Fame. Before Opening Day that season, White Sox player personnel advisor Paul Richards came to town to introduce him at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

    "After he introduced our really good team, he said, 'If you've wondered about this boy that's going to manage this team and you've heard that the worst players make the best managers, this young man has a chance to be an outstanding manager,'" La Russa said, drawing a laugh from the estimated crowd of 48,000 at the Clark Sports Center and setting the self-deprecatory tone for his remarks. 

    "I thought, 'It always hurts to hear the truth.' Then [Richards] watched me manage four or five games. He comes in and says, 'I think you may have been a better player than I thought you were.'"

    "I understand and appreciate what this means, but I want to add that I am not comfortable with it," La Russa said. "After thinking about all the other young managers who paid a lot of dues in the Minor Leagues, and I get a chance after parts of two years. Then I go into the big leagues with three organizations—the White Sox, Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals—and truthfully can tell you I never had one day that the coaches and myself felt that we didn't have total support from the people up top.

    "All that equates to me is that I've been very, very fortunate. And the more I think about it, I've never put my arms around the fact that being really lucky is a Hall of Fame credential." 

    There were two things that bothered La Russa, he said. One was that daughters Bianca and Devon were unable to attend. The other was that there was no way to recognize everybody whose name deserved to be mentioned.

    "I am not personally comfortable on this stage," La Russa said in conclusion. "But I believe I finally came to a resolution. I was in three great situations. Great. And I believe the way to accept this tremendous honor is as a representative of all those mentors, coaches and members of the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals."  (Hagen - mlb.com - 7/27/14)

  • In Spring Training 2016, La Russa is approached by a woman who would like him to pose for a photograph.  "OK, sure," La Russa says.

    He stops his golf cart just off a D-backs practice field at Salt River Fields to accommodate the request. Before the woman can raise her camera, La Russa sees she's wearing a Cubs cap. Photo op halted.  "Not in that hat," La Russa tells her. He is joking. Sort of. Competitive living, etc.

    "D-backs," La Russa tells her, pointing to the one he's wearing.  "My husband," the woman says. "He's got one."  La Russa does not smile.  "D-backs, D-backs, D-backs," he says.  The woman removes the Cubs cap, La Russa poses for the photo, and all is right with the world. This moment is not unimportant.

    "It wasn't too long after I stopped managing that I realized being neutral is just unnatural for me," La Russa said. Tony is attempting to explain how he got to this point in life, at 71, as the chief baseball officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks. This was not the career path he'd charted for himself after managing the last of his 5,225 games—and winning Game 7 of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals.  La Russa's influence on baseball is dramatic and lasting. Everything that's happening with management of the modern bullpen began with his work with the White Sox, Athletics, and Cards.

    Also, in terms of communicating with and motivating players, aligning defenses and playing every single game like it was, well, Game 7, there has never been anyone better than La Russa. He's one of 22 managers in the Hall of Fame, but he waves away this kind of talk.

    "Listen, everything I did, I got from someone else," La Russa said. "In 30 years, I've made a ton of friends—Jim Leyland and Tom Kelly being the best examples. There's virtually no difference in the three of us."

    Back to those months after the 2011 World Series. La Russa wasn't sure what he wanted to do, and when then-Commissioner Bud Selig phoned to offer a job helping Major League Baseball with on-field issues, he was thrilled. Tony helped baseball institute instant replay and was a sounding board on an assortment of other programs. Inside him, though, there was a gnawing for more competitive living.

    "That's all I've ever done for more than 50 years now," La Russa said. "It's a real simple existence. You wake up, and there's a game that day. Two teams. You win or you lose. You win, you shake everybody's hand. You lose, you tip your hat to the other side. You get up and do it again the next day."

  • La Russa's mentors are George Kissell, Dick Williams, Sparky Anderson and Chuck Tanner. They have given him so much, and La Russa believed he owed it to them to pass what he knew to another generation.  "I figured out that the only thing I'd been trained to do all these years was to evaluate what an October player looks like and what a team that plays in October looks like," La Russa said. "That's the only thing I know . . .  and a little bit about player development from talking to scouts."

    La Russa did an internship of sorts, sitting in with then-Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, a friend from their days with the White Sox.  "Dave gave me a crash course on what front office work is like, how you build a scouting staff, things like that," La Russa said. "When I saw the complexity of what happens up there . . . I mean, I had an idea about scouting and player development. But the whole range of what a guy like Dave does, I could see I wasn't qualified.

    "Dave says, 'Well, why don't you figure out what you can do and then hire people to do the rest?' That was my formula if the ownership thing ever came along." 

    In 2014, D-backs president Derrick Hall telephoned.  "At the time, the D-backs were something like 9-22," La Russa said. "I told Derrick, 'Look, you've got a general manager and a manager. There's no way I'm going to talk about that.' He said, 'No, we've got a little different idea.' I went in, and they said, 'We'd like to put you in charge of competition.' That's exactly what I would do if I was with a team. The coincidence just bowled me over that they approached me with that."

    La Russa spent most of that summer watching, touring the Minor Leagues, attempting to understand the culture and the environment.  "Our Minor League system, our player development guy, Mike Bell, is as good as anyone I've ever been around," La Russa said.  In 2016, nearly two years since, La Russa has kept some people and brought in some of his own, like Dave Stewart as general manager, De Jon Watson as senior vice president of baseball operations, and Chip Hale as manager.  

    The D-backs went 79-83 in La Russa's first full season on the job. They had the National League's youngest team. Only the Rockies scored more runs in the NL, but the pitching was short. Arizona had highly regarded prospects, but to compete in 2015, it needed more.

    Free-agent pitcher Johnny Cueto was an early target, and when he reportedly rejected the D-backs' offer, managing general partner Ken Kendrick had an even bigger idea. Within hours, Arizona had stunned the baseball world by signing Zack Greinke to a contract worth $206 million over six seasons.

    Forty-eight hours later, La Russa and his guys struck again, acquiring Shelby Miller from the Braves for a package of players, including the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, shortstop Dansby Swanson. (Justice - MLB.com - 3/8/16)

  • Dec 13, 2020: White Sox manager Tony La Russa has agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving stemming from his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol in February 2020 in Phoenix, according to a report by The Athletic. Neither La Russa nor the White Sox have commented on the report.

    La Russa will plead guilty to reckless driving (a Class 2 misdemeanor) and not to driving under the influence. It dictates that La Russa serve a day in jail as part of his punishment, but the state of Arizona stipulated that it is not opposed to reducing that sentence to a work release or home detention, pending a judge’s approval. The mandatory day in jail is standard for DUI offenses in Arizona, but a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Justice Courts told The Athletic that it will be determined whether La Russa’s reckless driving plea will also require that punishment when he is due to appear in a telephonic hearing in front of a judge on Dec. 21.

    La Russa’s agreement also calls for him to pay a $1,383 fine plus incarceration expenses and to complete 20 hours of community service.

    La Russa, 76, was originally charged with two DUI class 1 misdemeanor counts after he was arrested on Feb. 24, 2020 in Phoenix. (M Kelly - MLB.com - Dec 13, 2020)

  • “You want to bring joy to the organization and fans," Tony said. "That’s probably the reason, and I mean this sincerely, I never laugh in the dugout. First of all, the baseball gods are watching: Start laughing and they slap you. Secondly, it’s a huge responsibility to make all those people happy. Until you get the last out in the 9th or 10th, I'm always very respectful and very serious.” (Merkin - mlb.com - 3/31/2021)

Batting
  • In 1962, Tony signed his first pro contract with the Kansas City Athletics, reportedly for around $100,000, the night he graduated from high school. The bonus rules forced him to be kept on the Major League roster as an 18-year-old for the entire following year.

    "I was 11-for-44, and I swung at every first-pitch fastball I saw," La Russa said. "If they'd ever wanted to work the count on me, I probably wouldn't have gotten any hits.

    "I'm 18 and in the big leagues," Tony said. "I'm part of a trivia qustion. Only three shortstops in Major League history started a game at shortstop at the age of 18. Alex (Rodriguez), Robin Yount, an me. Two pearls and a turd."

    The promise La Russa showed early evaporated over the winter.

    "Like an idiot, I go home and play slow-pitch softball with my buddies and tore this tendon in my arm. I went from a shortstop with a cannon, a prospect to a suspect."

    Back and knee injuries followed, putting an end to big league dreams after a total of 132 games, the last for the Cubs in 1972. He played a total of 15 seasons in the minor leagues, and along the way picked up a law degree from Florida State while taking classes in the winter. and passing the Florida bar.

  • Tony's career unraveled when, in the offseason, after arriving late for a softball game, he didn't warm up and uncorked a throw that hurt his arm permanently. He played in only 98 more Major League games during the next 10 years.

  • Tony played for the Kansas City A's (1963), the Oakland A's (1968-1971), the Atlanta Braves (1971), and the Chicago Cubs (1973). He played second base, third base, and some shortstop. He played real hard.
  • His playing highlights are few. "I hit the first home run in the history of the New Orleans Superdome," La Russa said with a laugh. "I got a suit. I wore that suit to a lot of funerals after that."
  • Tony remembers, "By the time I got to Atlanta, I was a sore-armed infielder. I was having trouble even getting the ball from second to first, and they were beginning to catch on to me. After a few more years, in the minors mostly, I knew I was through as a player, so I wrote letters. Bill Veeck made me an offer."
  • Hardly half a season passed as player coach at Iowa before he was in the third base box in Chicago as a coach.
  • So many great managers were marginal players: Jim Leyland, Tom Lasorda, Gene Lamont. They learn early on that they have to scramble to get what they want. And they want their players to show real intensity, to scratch and claw like they did.
Fielding

MANAGERIAL/COACHING TRAITS

  • Tony is very organized, a real master of details. And he's a thinking man's manager—a master of maneuvers, alternating his lefthanders and righthanders to set up the ultimate checkmate—the 9th inning entrance of his closer.
  • La Russa has a temper and doesn't tolerate mistakes.
  • "If you look at me, you're going to get a very simple perspective. Everything from this moment on will be geared to winning the next game that the Cardinals play," La Russa says.
  • Tony fiercely guards his managerial philosophy. "I believe in a lot of self-analysis, but I don't believe in discussing it," he says. "When I read managers and coaches talking about themselves, I think it comes off like crap."

    PREPARATION

  • Judging from George Will's book "Men At Work," La Russa and his coaches prepare for every game as if it were the O.J. Simpson trial.
  • When you combine Tony's charts, smarts, and preparatory zeal with the occasional tirade in defense of his players, he comes across as a monument of intensity. The only break from the image comes when La Russa champions some social cause or dances in the Nutcracker Suite with the Oakland ballet.
  • LaRussa says a manager's influence can be overrated. "If you don't have quality players who are committed, you don't have a chance," he said. "If the manager does his job right, he can be a piece of the puzzle. But you're not the main show. The players are the main show."
  • When Tony holds a team meeting, every word has a purpose.

    "Tony gets up for games mentally and physically, day in and day out, every single day," says Dave Duncan, Tony's longtime pitching coach and friend. "We all have days when things aren't clicking. But I've worked with Tony a long time and I've never seen him have one of those days yet."

  • In St. Louis, La Russa redefined how he used his pitching staff. In Oakland, a setup man who might have only come on in the 7th inning appears anywhere from the 5th inning on in St. Louis.
  • He methodically plays the percentages, not afraid to use a parade of pitchers with the game on the line.
  • La Russa's penchant for frequently changing pitchers in the late innings has caught on around the majors. One Boston sportswriter called it "Creeping La Russa."
  • Tony is not afraid to try different, virtually never-before-used forms of strategy. So he is a bit of a pioneer manager.
  • He is not known for being a good teacher. In fact, he really doesn't teach much at all. He has a fine coaching staff to teach his players.
  • La Russa might have too many meetings with his players. After a while, guys just start rolling their eyes when a meeting is called.
  • La Russa is a hands-on manager, for the most part, although he entrusts almost all the pitching decisions to his longtime aid Duncan. La Russa is a big believer in a versatile bench, where several players can play several positions so that he needs only 5 bench players and can go with 12 pitchers.
  • The Cardinals don't steal a lot of bases, but La Russa likes to put runners in motion on the hit-and-run.
  • The players believe in La Russa and his methods. Even though he has been managing in the Majors since 1978, he seems up to date with the modern athlete.

    PRAISE FROM LEYLAND

  • Late in the 2004 season, former Major League Manager Jim Leyland shed some light on what makes La Russa such a great manager. (Leyland is a longtime friend and confidant of La Russa. Leyland was a member of La Russa's staff in Chicago and fashioned an outstanding career as a manager with Pittsburgh, Florida, and Colorado. He owns a World Championship ring from his stint with the Marlins).

    "He got established at a pretty young age," Leyland explained. "He managed with not very much experience and he was managing in the big leagues—he really didn't manage very long in the minor leagues. I think over the years he's just made every adjustment that a manager needs to make and he just leaves no stone unturned.

    "I've never seen anybody that is prepared like he is. He's not going to get caught by surprise. Obviously they lose games like everybody else, but he's not going to get caught by surprise at any time. He's prepared for everything. He knows his players and he knows their strengths. He is a motivator. He's got it figured out and that's why he's on his way to the Hall of Fame."

    La Russa is regarded as a player's manager.

    "Yeah, I think he's a player's manager," Leyland said. "I never could figure out exactly what that term meant. He has a great respect for the game and in turn he has developed a great respect for the players. I think Tony himself was a player, and I think Tony was one of the guys who was smart enough to figure out how hard this game is to play, and I think he never forgets that as a manager. I think that's a very important ingredient for a manager to have."

    La Russa is confident in his ability, and he is fearless.

    "One of the things about Tony is he is not afraid," Leyland offered. "He's not afraid to try things and he's certainly not afraid of what he's going to have to answer after the game to the media or to the general manager. He doesn't worry about those things and I think that's the sign of a good manager.

    "If you're a manager that worries about what questions are going to be asked after the game, you're probably not a very good manager and he's not afraid to try anything. He's not foolish, but he'll pick his spots and he's very aggressive. He's the total package and in my opinion he's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer." (George Von Benko-MLB.com-8/29/04)

  • An interesting quirk about Tony during a game: After every inning, the Cardinals manager walks the length of the dugout, kicking discarded cups into a nice, neat pile. Royce Clayton, who used to play for the Cardinals from 1996-98, says the players noticed La Russa's habit.

    "We used to throw down cups on purpose, just so he'd have to kick them all up," he said.

  • La Russa is very stubborn in how he believes the game should be played. Tony despises pitches that stray near a hitter's head. He'll curse his own pitchers for doing so. But he's not beyond sending messages, or retaliating. "It's always a revenge thing with Tony," Joe Carter once said. "He's been that way all his career."

  • In 1998, and again in 2007 and 2008, La Russa put the pitcher 8th in the batting order instead of the NL-standard ninth. He pointed out that it got his No. 3 hitter an at-bat in the first inning and effectively shifted him to cleanup after that. (Editor's note: That idea didn't really catch on.)

  • Tony likes the decision-making parts of the game—pinch hitters, bringing in relievers, bunting, stealing bases. However, he avoids intentional walks.

  • A month after he retired in November 2011, La Russa was asked how he managed in an age of superstars and superegos.

    "Personalize, personalize, personalize. You need to show you care; You need to earn their trust and respect. This is the entire staff, not just me," La Russa said.

    "And trust means telling the truth. Sometimes that's not what they want to hear, but you can't bullshit them. Because there goes your credibility."

Running

POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS

  • Tony was Manager at Knoxville (SL-White Sox) in 1978 until Bill Veeck called him up to be third base coach for the White Sox. Tony started the 1979 season as Iowa's manager, but Veeck again called and said, "Catch the next plane. I need to talk to you." Tony said, "We're playing Omaha tonight. I can't make it." "You're playing Toronto tonight," Veeck said, and Tony replaced Don Kessinger as White Sox Manager.

    Tony kept the job until June 1986, when he was fired.

    But within a few weeks, in July 1986, Tony took over as skipper of the Oakland A's.

    CONTRACTS

  • Tony resigned as A's manager after the 1995 season. He then signed with the Cardinals as their skipper for 1996 and 1997—a contract worth approximately $1.5 million per season.
  • He signed another two-year deal with St. Louis for 1998 and 1999, at an estimated $1.7 million per year.
  • In October 1999, Tony signed another two-year extension with the Cards—taking him through the 2001 season.
  • In October 2001, La Russa signed another two-year deal with the Cards, worth at least $2 million a year for two years.
  • In January 2002, he signed a three-year contract with the Cardinals.
  • February 2, 2005: The Cardinals extended La Russa's contract by three years, at a reported $2.7 million per year.
  • October 22, 2007: La Russa signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals as Manager.
  • October 18, 2010: Tony signed up for a 16th season a skipper of the Cardinals, along with an mutual option for the 2012 season.

  •  May 17, 2014: The Diamondbacks hired Tony as the chief baseball officer.

  • Oct 17, 2016: La Russa will remain with the D-backs but in a reduced role following the hiring of Mike Hazen as the club's general manager.

    La Russa will now hold the title of chief baseball analyst/advisor. While his role is still being worked out, the one sure thing is he will no longer have a say over personnel decisions.

    "It's been simplified, which is a good thing," La Russa said of his role. "The general manager will have final say over trades and the manager. I think it's the right move. It puts the authority where it belongs. I think the other thing that is important to state is that my No. 1 responsibility is using 50 years of expertise to impact the way we play the game. That hasn't changed." (S Gilbert - MLB.com - Oct 17, 2016)

  • La Russa joined the Red Sox organization as an assistant to the field manager, Alex Cora.

  • Nov 12, 2019: The Angels hired La Russa as a senior advisor in their baseball operations department, GM Billy Eppler announced on the second day of the General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. La Russa will assist the front office in areas including player evaluation and Minor League development.

    La Russa, 75, held a similarly prominent role in Boston's front office over the past two seasons under former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, and he also worked in the D-backs’ baseball operations department from 2014-17. La Russa will be reunited with Albert Pujols, whom he managed from 2001-2011.

  • Oct. 29, 2020: La Russa was named the White Sox manager.

    MANAGER OF THE YEAR

  • Tony won the AL Manager of the Year three times—in 1983 with the White Sox, and in 1988 and 1992 with the Oakland A's.
  • In 2002, La Russa was named the NL Manager of the Year. He became the first man ever to be selected for a fourth time.

    That year, Tony outpolled Bobby Cox, but joined Cox in a two-man fraternity that has won the award in both the American and National leagues. The Cardinals' manager became the first to win the award with three different teams.

    CAREER WINS

  • On September 10, 2003, Tony became the eighth manager in Major League history to reach 2,000 wins.
  • On August 24, 2005, La Russa moved into sole possession of third place in all-time managerial wins with #2,195—one more than Sparky Anderson.
  • On June 21, 2009, La Russa won his 2,500th game. He remained third on the all-time list, behind only Hall of Famers Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). (Editor's note: Even though Connie Mack is the all-time leader, with 3,731 wins, he's also the all-time losing manager, with 3,948 losses. In fact, he did not have a winning record for his career.)
  • June 4, 2021:  The White Sox win was a milestone for Tony, as he moved into a tie for second place on the all-time manager wins list with his 2,763rd victory, matching fellow Hall of Famer John McGraw.  Only Connie Mack (3,731) has more.

  • October 27, 2006: When the Cardinals became World Champions, Tony joined Sparky Anderson as the only Major League managers in history to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.
  • In 2011, Tony won his third World Series when his Cardinals defeated the Rangers 4 games to 3.
  • October 31, 2011: La Russa announced he was retiring from the game, at age 67.
  • December 9, 2013: La Russa, along with Joe Torre and Bobby Cox,  baseball's winningest managers over the past four decades, were unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee.

    All three won more than 2,000 games and were selected on all 16 ballots when the committee met just ahead of baseball's winter meetings. Later, Tony was asked what cap he would like to be on his HOF plaque.

    "The Chicago White Sox gave me my start in the game as a big league manager for my first eight seasons in my 33-year managerial career. In Oakland, we recorded four first-place finishes in 10 years, winning three pennants and a World Series. And in St. Louis, our clubs won three pennants and two titles in 16 years. It's the totality of the success of each of those three teams that led me to Cooperstown, so I am choosing to not feature a logo so that fans of all clubs can celebrate this honor with me."

Career Injury Report
  • May 2011: La Russa missed a few games because of a persistent case of shingles. The illness sapped his energy, also causing significant pain.