Tony La Russa will return to coach the Chicago White Sox for the 2022 season, a source told ESPN.
White Sox stars Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu had publicly lobbied for La Russa, 77, to return this week after Chicago was eliminated by the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. .
“I want him to come back,” Anderson said Thursday. “At the end of the day, my decision doesn’t really matter. I guess it all depends on what the front office thinks … I definitely want him. I think he did a great job with the way he handled and just being open.”
On Wednesday Abreu had said he “was pretty sure” La Russa would return.
“He will not leave us alone. He will be with us,” Abreu said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Abreu also said that he appreciates La Russa’s comments after the game. La Russa said Abreu was hit “intentionally” by Astros reliever Kendall Graveman in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 4.
“It was a natural reaction. That’s the kind of reaction I would have if something happened to one of my sons,” Abreu told reporters, according to MLB.com. “Tony was trying to protect me, and he’s always trying to protect us.”
La Russa’s future was a question mark after the White Sox season ended on Tuesday. Then he said that it depends first on the management and then on the players. If they want it back, then “check and see if you have the desire to keep driving, and I do,” he said.
President Jerry Reinsdorf lured La Russa to Chicago after his retirement for a second season with the franchise that gave him his first major league managerial job, in the hope that the three-time World Series winner could lead to a star-studded team to a deep race in October.
La Russa hadn’t filled out a lineup card since leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series championship in 2011, and there were questions about how his old-school ways would fit in with the team’s vibrant young stars like Anderson.
“Everyone thought we weren’t going to get along,” said Anderson, who made his first All-Star team this season. “But in general, we were talking behind the scenes the whole time. Just for him, the players come first and he makes it known. We are a great family.”
La Russa had a public disagreement with a couple of his players after he scolded Yermin Mercedes for hitting a 3-0 home run during the ninth inning of a 16-4 win over Minnesota in May.
But with one of the best lineups and pitching staff in baseball, the White Sox hit a 93-69 record and beat Cleveland by 13 games in the AL Central, winning the division for the first time in 13 years. . The win total was the highest since the 2005 World Series champion team went 99-63.
La Russa edged out John McGraw for second on the list of the most victorious managers of all time behind Connie Mack as he led the White Sox to their second consecutive playoff appearance. They had never made the postseason in consecutive years. But after being knocked out by the Oakland Athletics in the wild card round in 2020, they again failed to advance and were defeated by Houston convincingly.
“I think he did a great job, coming in and being a part of what we’ve been trying to do,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t be happier than he did. The relationship was great overall. Everyone got along with him. I think he came in and did what he was supposed to do.”