Tony La Russa Quits White Sox Manager Over Health Issues, Says ‘I Didn’t Do My Job’ in 2022

White Sox manager Tony La Russa resigned from his post on Monday, citing ongoing health issues, he said in a statement. La Russa, who turns 78 on Tuesday, pulled out of the squad at the end of August on the advice of his doctors and underwent surgery to repair his pacemaker.

Here is La Russa’s statement in full. As well as detailing his health issues, La Russa acknowledged the team’s record was proof that ‘I didn’t do my job’.

In February, I had a pacemaker installed and was cleared by my doctors to start spring training as planned. A periodic check of the device then identified a problem. During batting practice on August 30, I was informed of the problem, removed from uniform and tested by doctors the next day. The solution was to update the pacemaker in Arizona and for me not to return as manager without medical clearance.

During an annual private examination after the first of the year, a second health problem was also diagnosed. I decided to delay facing him until the offseason. While I was idle with the pacemaker, the second problem was analyzed. The result is that a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and its implementation has begun. I informed the White Sox of this second issue when I was out of uniform and dealing with the pacemaker. As I have said before, I continue to request confidentiality regarding my health issues and appreciate those who have respected this request. My overall prognosis is good and I would like to thank everyone who sent me their best wishes related to my health.

At no time this season have either issue negatively impacted my responsibilities as manager of the White Sox. However, it has become apparent that the lengthy process of dealing with and recovering from this second medical condition makes it impossible for me to be White Sox manager in 2023. The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to include the filling the post of manager. along with their other off-season priorities.

Our team’s record this season is the latest reality. This is an unacceptable disappointment. There were advantages, but too many disadvantages. In the major leagues, you either do it or you don’t. Explanations pass for excuses. Respect and trust require accountability, and during my career as a manager I have come to understand that the ultimate responsibility for every less rests with the manager. I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record is proof of that. I didn’t do my job.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons were significant positive milestones for this organization ending in the baseball playoffs. I’m proud of the 2021 season because our team faced the pressure of being labeled a favorite by winning a division championship and posting winning records in each of the six months of the season. In 2022 we have some movement in the wrong direction. The key now is to determine what is good versus what is bad. I am convinced that the process will be productive and that the players will be receptive. The future of this team remains bright.

At no time was I disappointed or upset by White Sox fans, including those who sometimes chanted “Fire Tony”. They come to games with a passion for our team and a strong desire to win. Loud and excited when we win, they are rightly upset when we play badly. A great example of that support came in Game 3 of last year’s Division Series. I mean no disrespect to my other teams and their fans, but it was the most electric crowd I’ve ever seen.

Finally, I am sincerely disappointed to leave without having the possibility of completing what I have been led to do. I still appreciate the chance to return to the White Sox and come away today with far more good memories than disappointments.

As I have said many times throughout my career, no manager has ever been luckier than me.

Thanks.

La Russa’s second term with the White Sox ends in disappointment. The Sox after the abridged 2020 season parted ways with then-manager Rick Renteria despite guiding him to their first playoff appearance since 2008. By all accounts, the surprising move was forced by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who later dictated La Russa’s hiring despite not being successful since 2011. La Russa initially managed the White Sox under Reinsdorf from 1979 until halfway through the 1986 season In that first term, La Russa led them to a 99-win season and a division title in 1983.

La Russa’s second run with the White Sox yielded an American League Central title in 2021. However, the team’s winning percentage actually declined from Renteria’s last year of 2020, and the Sox , also like in 2020, were kicked out of the playoffs in the first round. Things got worse in 2022. Despite playing in baseball’s weakest division, the White Sox under La Russa were unable to overcome a series of injuries. They only spent eight days in the top spot and none after April 20. The team initially saw better results under interim La Russa replacement Miguel Cairo, but they couldn’t catch the Cleveland Guardians, who pounced on the stretch.

La Russa, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, won two World Series titles with the St. Louis Cardinals and another with the Oakland A’s. He has won the Manager of the Year award in his respective league four times and is second on the all-time winning list behind Connie Mack. La Russa’s second stint with the White Sox will be remembered as a curious and largely unsuccessful addition to what was otherwise a glittering career in the dugout.

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