The Baltimore Orioles will have a new/old face with whom to contend in 2021 when they play the Chicago White Sox. The “southsiders” have just (re) hired Tony LaRussa as their manager. It’s a return to his roots for LaRussa, 76, who’s first managerial job was with the ChiSox. He managed them from 1979-1986.
It was LaRussa’s ChiSox that were defeated by the Birds in the 1983 ALCS. Of course the O’s went onto win the World Series against Philadelphia that year, their third title. LaRussa was fired as Chicago’s manager midway through the 1986 season, and a few weeks later was hired as the manager of the Oakland Athletics. The rest, as they say, is history.
This is obviously a shocking move, and one heck of a splash by the ChiSox. And quite frankly, I applaud them. In a way, it goes against the grain of where people seem to want the sport to go. LaRussa’s certainly one of the greatest managers of all time, however at 76 those days appeared to be in the rearview mirror. It seems that fans and the league alike want both coaches and players to be younger now. To embrace analytics more…
…LaRussa’s obviously an old school coach. He’s the type who may not embrace analytics as much. But his prowess in the dugout can’t be second-guessed. So while the sport as a whole is going in one direction, the ChiSox kind of went back to their roots – in more ways than one. This is a classic case of someone looking past the nose on his face, and again I applaud that.
It’ll be interesting to see how exactly LaRussa handles himself. Because in a case like this (an old, albeit gifted coach returning to the game after an absence), there’s always a question of whether the game’s passed him by. We’ll obviously find out as time goes on next year, but again kudos to the ChiSox for looking past the nose on their face in their managerial search!