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Former White Sox manager Tony La Russa elected to Hall of Fame

FILE: Baseball Hall Fame Elects Managers Joe Torre Tony LRussBobby Cox

FILE: Baseball Hall of Fame Elects Managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, and Bobby Cox

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was on hand Monday to see close friend Tony La Russa elected to the Hall of Fame, along with fellow former managers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. All three were unanimous Veterans Committee selections.

La Russa spent eight seasons managing the Sox, going 522-510 from 1979 to 1986. The 522 victories are the fourth-most in Sox history, and he led the team to 99 victories and American League West title in 1983.

‘‘Tony won the first of his Manager of the Year awards that season, and I still tell
everyone my biggest mistake in sports was letting him be fired [by then-general manager Ken Harrelson] in 1986,’’ Reinsdorf said. ‘‘When you run an organization, you can’t tell the head of a department who’s going to work for him. You have to let him have his own people. The general manager wanted to let him go and I couldn’t talk him out of it, so I had to let it happen.

‘‘But I did have his next job for him before he was fired, before I let that happen. I told Roy Eisenhardt, who was president of the Oakland A’s, ‘If we let him go, will you hire him?’ and he did in a heartbeat. I’d like to think if Roy had said no, I would have stopped it, but anyway . . .

‘‘It probably was the best thing for our relationship because we became very good friends on a personal level and a level that’s really hard to have with somebody who works for you. Tony has a great sense of humor.
Every time we meet someone together, he manages to tell somebody I fired him. Tony is a very good friend and an incredible human being. I am so proud of all he has accomplished over the years, capped by today’s very special Hall of Fame
selection.’’

After leaving the Sox, La Russa managed the Athletics (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011). He won World Series titles with the A’s in 1989 and with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011, and his 2,728 victories as a manager are the third-most in major-league history
behind Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763).

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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