A former manager of Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox, Anthony La Russa Jr. (born October 4, 1944) is a current coach and player with the team (MLB). His extensive MLB career started in 1963 and continues to this day in a number of different capacities. He once led the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa managed for 33 seasons, during which his clubs won three World Series titles, six league crowns, and thirteen division titles. He has the second-most victories (2,848) of any manager in major league history, behind only Connie Mack.
La Russa debuted in the major leagues in 1963 and played for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs over the course of five seasons. In the wake of a shoulder injury in the 1964–1965 offseason, he went back to school, earning a degree in the process. Then he spent the majority of the rest of his career in the minor leagues before retiring in 1977. After retiring from professional sports, he went on to acquire a law degree from Florida State.
Tony LaRussa Early Life
Anthony Jr. La Russa’s parents, Anthony Sr. and Olivia (Cuervo) La Russa were both of Italian and Spanish descent. He was born on October 4, 1944, in Tampa. His parents met while working in the same cigar factory in Ybor City, Florida, where he grew up. Tony La Russa and his family eventually settled in West Tampa, Florida, where Tony spent his formative years playing baseball in the American Legion and the PONY League alongside future manager Lou Piniella. In June 1962, after La Russa graduated from Jefferson High School in Tampa, he signed with the Kansas City Athletics as a middle infielder, with the stipulation that the Athletics would cover the cost of his tuition at the University of South Florida.
Tony LaRussa Personal Life
From his first marriage to Luzette Sarcone, La Russa has two older children named Andrea and Averie. After Dianne LaRussa and Michael Sarcone’s divorce in 1973, Sarcone was awarded exclusive custody of the couple’s two daughters. Just after the divorce from Sarcone was finalized, La Russa wed Elaine Coker. Outside of sports, La Russa counts Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Christian McBride (jazz bass), and Robb Flynn (heavy metal) from Machine Head as close friends.
Hornsby performed a humorous tune he’d titled “Hooray For Tony” during a San Francisco event on La Russa’s birthday in 2007. La Russa’s favorite Hornsby song is the original, “Hooray For Tom,” which was written by Hornsby. Hornsby pays tribute to former Oakland Athletics players Mark McGwire and José Canseco (the “Bash Brothers”), as well as Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, A.R.F., and Tony La Russa in this rendition of “Hooray for Tony.” In addition to earning a law degree from Florida State University, La Russa holds a Bachelor of Arts in industrial management from the University of South Florida (1969).
Tony LaRussa’s Illness
It appears that the White Sox will be without a manager for the foreseeable future. It was first reported this afternoon by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that Tony La Russa will be sidelined indefinitely due to health issues. The team has not yet validated the nature of Tony La Russa’s physical complaints or whether they indicate a more serious ailment requiring an additional medical examination. According to a source familiar with the matter, Nightengale did mention that La Russa will be “undergoing testing on his heart” in his reports.
For Tuesday’s game, Miguel Cairo, the bench coach, filled in for the manager, and he’ll continue to do so for the rest of the time. The 77-year-old La Russa has taken a lot of heat from White Sox supporters over his whole coaching career. The White Sox have improved since his comeback, going 93-69 in 2021 and 63-65 thus far in 2022. Due to the team’s poor performance in the 2021 playoffs and 2022 regular season, many supporters have demanded that manager Tony La Russa be let go.
If the team makes the playoffs this year, La Russa is under contract for another two years and is widely expected to return for a third. A rumor has claimed that if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, La Russa will be “reassigned” inside the organization. Whether or not this will have a negative impact on his health and ability to cope in the future is unknown at this time.
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