Tony La Russa steps down as White Sox manager over health concerns, says ‘I didn’t do my job’ in 2022

White Sox manager Tony La Russa resigned from his position Monday, citing continuing health concerns, he announced in a statement. La Russa, who turns 78 on Tuesday, retired from the team in late August on the advice of his doctors and underwent a procedure to repair his pacemaker.

The following is La Russa’s full statement. In addition to describing his health issues, La Russa acknowledged that the team’s record is proof “I didn’t do my job.”

This February, I had a pacemaker fitted and the doctors cleared me to start spring training as planned. A periodic check of the device later identified a problem. During training on August 30, I was informed about the issue, was removed from the uniform and was examined by doctors the next day. The solution was to notify the pacemaker in Arizona and not return as a 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 dealing with it until the off season. While I was inactive with the pacemaker, the second subject was analyzed. The result is that a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and implementation has begun. I briefed the White Sox on this second matter while out of uniform and dealing with the pacemaker. As I have previously stated, I continue to request privacy related to my health issues and I 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 wishes related to my health.

At no time this season did either issue adversely affect my responsibilities as manager of the White Sox. However, it has become apparent that the length of the treatment and rehabilitation process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to become the manager of the White Sox in 2023. The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities.

Our team record this season is the ultimate reality. It is an unacceptable disappointment. There were some positives, but too many negatives. In the Major Leagues, you either do or you don’t. Explanations appear as justifications. Respect and trust require accountability, and during my managerial career, I have come to understand that the ultimate responsibility for any minus rests with the manager. I was hired to provide positive leadership and support that makes a difference. Our record is proof. I didn’t do my job.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons were major positive steps for this organization that ended with a baseball playoff run. I am proud of the 2021 season because our team faced the pressure to be labeled as 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 understand what is right versus what is wrong. I am convinced that the process will be productive and the players will be receptive. The future of this team remains bright.

I was never disappointed or upset with the White Sox fans, including those who occasionally chanted “Fire Tony”. They come to games with passion for our team and a strong desire to win. Loud and excited when we win, rightfully upset when we play poorly. A great example of that support came in Game 3 of last year’s division series. No disrespect intended to any of my other teams and their fans, but this was the most electrifying crowd I’ve ever experienced.

Finally, I am truly disappointed to be leaving without the opportunity to accomplish what I was brought in to do. I still appreciate the opportunity to come home to the White Sox and leave today with a lot more good memories than disappointments.

As I have said many times during my career, no coach has ever had more good luck than me.


La Russa’s second stint with the White Sox ends in disappointment. The Sox after the shortened 2020 season parted ways with then-manager Rick Renteria despite leading him to their first postseason appearance since 2008. By all accounts, the surprising decision was forced by owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who in then dictated the hiring of La Russa even though he had not coached since 2011. La Russa originally managed the White Sox under Reinsdorf from 1979 until the end of the 1986 season. During that first stint, La Russa led them to a 99-win season and a division title in 1983.

La Russa’s second streak with the White Sox produced an American League Central title in 2021. However, the team’s winning percentage is actually down from Renteria’s final year in 2020, and the Sox, like 2020, bounced out of the postseason in the first round. Things got worse in 2022. Despite playing in the weakest division in baseball, the White Sox under La Russa couldn’t overcome a rash of injuries. They spent just eight days in the top spot and none after April 20. The team initially saw better results under La Russa’s interim replacement, Miguel Cairo, but was unable to catch the promoted Cleveland Guardians.

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 won his major league’s Manager of the Year award four times and is second on the all-time wins list behind Connie Mack. La Russa’s second stint with the White Sox will be remembered as an odd and largely unsuccessful addition to what is otherwise a stellar career in the dugout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *