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What teams did Tony La Russa coach during his 35 years as an MLB manager?

From World Series titles to championships in both leagues, the White Sox manager will be remembered for the success he achieved with more than one team, but who were they?

Update:
What teams did Tony La Russa coach during his 35 years as an MLB manager?
Jason MillerAFP

One of the greatest managers in the history of the game has taken the decision to step away from the game, but what did he achieve and with which teams? Let’s take a look!

Tony La Russa has retired

With his announcement on Monday, Tony La Russa officially said goodbye to MLB, the Chicago White Sox and of course the many fans. While many were left saddened, it was a decision that was very understandable as the veteran manager cited a pair of health issues as the central motivation for leaving. Sadly, La Russa will walk away from the very same team that gave him his first job in the big leagues, but this time, it will be with a disappointing record after two years at the reigns.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa announces his retirement due to health concerns, infront of the entire organization on Monday.
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White Sox manager Tony La Russa announces his retirement due to health concerns, infront of the entire organization on Monday.Kamil KrzaczynskiUSA TODAY Sports

A three-time World Series champion, La Russa who actually turns 78 on Tuesday, has been absent for the last 34 games having had to leave the team on August 30th to address problems with his pacemaker, which incidentally was implanted in February of this year. It’s worth noting this, because it was apparently during that period that La Russa underwent additional testing for another medical issue that had been previously diagnosed. Ultimately, he took the decision to say goodbye to the game. “...Now however that I’m in the treatment program, it’s become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for the second issue makes it impossible to be the manager in 2023,” La Russa said.

The Blame Game: Tony La Russa accepts responsibility for White Sox woes

When this MLB season got underway, the Chicago White Sox were definitely a team that had their eye on a World Series run. Unfortunately, between constant injuries and inconsistent play, that parade got severely rained on. Speaking in front of essentially the entire organization, including the players themselves, La Russa didn’t shy away from responsibility in anyway. “I understand the ultimate responsibility for each minus this season belongs to the manager,” he said. “That’s accurate, because there’s always something else you could do. I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record this year is proof I did not do my job.”

As for what happens now, Bench coach Miguel Cairo has officially taken over, but the damage is done and their will almost certainly be no post season baseball this year. Interestingly, general manager Rick Hahn said Cairo will get an interview for the full-time job, but also indicated that there is a preference for someone outside the organization. “I think we are going to use this opportunity to get different perspectives,” Hahn said.

Where else has Tony La Russa coached in his career?

With a 2,900-2,514 record across an incredible 35 years in the league, La Russa has seen success with the Chicago White Sox, as well as the Oakland A’s and the St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa is second only to Connie Mack on baseball’s career wins list, having previously leap frogged John McGraw just last season. Where his world championships are concerned, La Russa clinched World Series titles with Oakland in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. To that end, he stands alongside only Sparky Anderson as the only managers ever to win the World Series in both the American and National leagues.

Yet, it must be said that La Russa’s name will likely always evoke images of the White Sox first before any other team when thinking of him. First hired by the franchise at 34, La Russa was promoted from Triple-A to replace Don Kessinger who had just been fired by the White Sox during the season of 1979. Once appointed, the former infielder would go on to lead the White Sox to a 522-510 record across eight seasons as their manager. Despite leading the White Sox to their first playoff appearance since 1959, during a 1983 run that saw them win 99 games enroute to an AL West Championship, La Russa was fired by then GM Ken Harrelson following a 26-38 start to the season. It is a move that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf indicated he regrets to this day.

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