(670 The Score) Tony La Russa understood well what the expectation was when he was hired in October 2020 for his second stint as White Sox manager.
His job was to mold a young, talented club into a championship contender and make a deep run at a World Series title. That didn’t happen in his two-year tenure in the White Sox dugout, with this 2022 season being especially disappointing. The White Sox missed the playoffs and carried a 79-80 record into play Monday, when La Russa announced that he wouldn’t return as manager in 2023 due to health issues that have had him on a medical leave of absence since Aug. 30.
With the disappointment in mind, the 77-year-old La Russa admitted in a statement that he failed.
"Our team’s record this season is the final reality," La Russa said. "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.”
La Russa is a three-time World Series-winning manager who has 2,900 wins to his name, the second-most in MLB history.