Chicago White Sox manager and Hall of Famer Tony La Russa announced his retirement this week.
La Russa cited medical issues for his retirement. The White Sox are set to finish the regular season on Wednesday in a game against their division rival the Minnesota Twins.
Although the White Sox were favored to win the American League Central, key injuries contributed to a number of devastating losing streaks. The Cleveland Guardians swept the Sox in the final weeks of the season, triggering an eight-game losing streak that put the division out of reach.
Here is La Russa’s full statement:
This February, I had a pacemaker installed and was cleared by my doctors to begin spring training as scheduled. A periodic check of the device later identified a problem. During batting practice on August 30, I was informed of the issue, taken out of 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 exam after the first of the year, a second health issue also was diagnosed. I decided to delay confronting it until the off season. While I was inactive with the pacemaker, the second issue was analyzed. The result is that a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and implementation has begun. I informed the White Sox of this second issue while I was out of uniform dealing with the pacemaker. As I have stated previously, I continue to request privacy related to my health issues and appreciate those who have respected that request. My overall prognosis is good, and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me with well wishes related to my health.
At no time this season did either issue negatively affect my responsibilities as White Sox manager. However, it has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023. The timing of this announcement now enables the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities.
Our team’s record this season is the final reality. It is an unacceptable disappointment. There were some pluses, but too many minuses. In the Major Leagues, you either do or you don’t. Explanations come across as excuses. Respect and trust demand accountability, and during my managerial career, I understood that the ultimate responsibility for each minus belongs to the manager. I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record is proof. I did not do my job.
The 2020 and 2021 seasons were important positive steps for this organization ending with playoff baseball. I take pride in the 2021 season because our team dealt with the pressure of being labeled as favorite by earning a division championship and posting winning records in each of the season’s six months. In 2022, we have some movement in the wrong direction. The key now is to figure out what is right versus what is wrong. I’m convinced that the process will be productive, and the players will be receptive. The future for this team remains bright.
At no time have I been disappointed or upset with White Sox fans, including those who at times chanted “Fire Tony.” They come to games with passion for our team and a strong desire to win. Loud and excited when we win, they rightly are upset when we play poorly. A great example of this support came in Game 3 of last year’s division series. No disrespect intended to any of my other teams and their fans, but that was the most electric crowd I ever experienced.
Finally, I am sincerely disappointed that I am leaving without the opportunity to finish what I was brought in to do. I still appreciate the chance to come back home to the White Sox and leave today with many more good memories than disappointments.
As I have said many times during my career, no manager has ever had more good fortune than I have.