Jerry Reinsdorf knew Tony La Russa was managing his last game, so he made a trip to Busch Stadium for Game 7 of the World Series. He watched La Russa win his third title, and Reinsdorf said it made him as happy as he felt when the Sox won it in 2005.
La Russa’s surprising retirement announcement Monday led to speculation that he might return to the Sox, who fired him in 1986, as an adviser.
“With his and Jerry’s relationship, I’m sure there would be a position over here for whatever he wanted to do,” a White Sox management source said Monday. “You can never have too many good baseball people around.”
Reinsdorf still regrets firing La Russa, who said if he stays in baseball it would be with an owner he knows.
“I think it would have to be for an owner I know, like Reinsdorf, the Haas [Oakland A’s] family, the people [in St. Louis],” La Russa said. “Those are the owners I’ve known, the ones I’d want to make happy.”
“Tony La Russa certainly left his mark on the game of baseball,” Reinsdorf said in a statement Monday. “His brilliance is his legacy. One of two managers to win a World Series in each league, six pennants, it says a lot about the man that he wasn’t just going to stick around to break records.
“Some managers are great at running a game. Some are great from the ninth inning until the first inning. Tony was rare. He truly was great at both. I don’t think anyone has won more often with teams expected to do far less.”
“Tony is one of the few people I know who would do something for a friend even if it was bad for him personally. It’s a measure of the man that we fired him and remained friends.”
“I knew Friday night was his last game, and I wanted to be there for it. Like a father who gets more enjoyment out of seeing his children succeed, I was as happy for him Friday night as I was when we won in 2005.”
La Russa will likely wait until spring to decide if he wants to remain in baseball.