Election Day 2020 features two presidential candidates in their 70s: President Trump is 74, Joe Biden is 78. So maybe the Chicago White Sox were inspired. Thursday they went into the wayback machine and hired 76-year-old Tony La Russa to become their new manager. If it feels like déjà vu for La Russa, it was, because he was hired the first time to manage the Sox way back in 1979.
No question the team will get one of the most accomplished skippers in baseball history. La Russa is already in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he’s won three World Series titles and four Manager of the Year awards; and he’s No. 3 all-time in wins for managers.
La Russa would win every game if the managers just compared résumés, but that’s not how baseball works. It’s a moderately baffling decision for Chicago because La Russa hasn’t worn a uniform in nine years. He retired as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, and it’s quite an understatement to say that the game of baseball has changed a bit since then, as “analytics” was a term primarily used by the Oakland A’s and no other team the last time he was a manager.
I guess the White Sox have nothing to lose — they haven’t been relevant since they won the World Series 15 years ago, and now people in and out of baseball will at least pay attention to them for a while. The team is loaded with young talent. “We are extremely excited about the future of this team,’’ General Manager Rick Hahn said Thursday. “Adding in a Hall of Fame manager who is recognized as being one of the best in the history of the game, we are a step closer to our goal of bringing White Sox fans another championship.’’