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Tony La Russa: Even if health wasn't a factor, White Sox fan base may have led me to same decision to step aside as manager

WSCR Radio Chicago logo WSCR Radio Chicago 10/3/2022 670 Staff
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(670 The Score) When Tony La Russa announced Monday afternoon that he wouldn’t return as White Sox manager in 2023, he and the team cited health reasons for his resignation. He had a problem with his pacemaker in late August and also an unspecified second concerning health issue to address as well.

But even if health hadn’t made the decision for him, the 77-year-old La Russa acknowledged the White Sox fan base may have led him to the same decision to step aside. La Russa cited the temperature of the fan base as one of the four factors he would’ve had to consider from a baseball perspective if he had been healthy enough to continue on in the dugout.

“I have a process,” La Russa said. “I’ve talked about it – it’s in a couple of the books – that I’ve used every year. At the end of the season, I don’t care what your contract is, you want to be sure that the people that still make the decisions still want you. If they say they don’t ya, then you walk away.

“If they say they want you, then you got to go to the players. If the players don’t want you, then you’re a fraud. You’re a hypocrite if you stay around. Then the third one, do you still want to manage? But there is actually a fourth one this year for the first time. And that is, which I’ve thought about. There’s enough negativity about my managing that I worried about being a distraction to the ball club and the organization. So actually the fans could decide that for me personally. But I don’t know the answer to that. I think some people think I did all right. Some people didn’t. But it’s academic now because of the health. But I’d never had the fan as a fourth thing before. It was always just the three things.”

The White Sox are finishing off a disappointing season this week, as they entered play Monday at 79-80 and missed the playoffs. La Russa took full responsibility for the underachievement, stating that he didn’t do his job well.

White Sox fan discontent was a theme of the trying season, with many fans loudly chanting “Fire Tony” at various home games at Guaranteed Rate Field when the club struggled.

La Russa leaves his post with 2,900 wins to his name, the second-most of any manager in MLB history.

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