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White Sox should pass on early-bird special Tony La Russa in hiring a new manager

Illustration for article titled White Sox should pass on early-bird special Tony La Russa in hiring a new manager
Image: (Getty Images)

Were Connie Mack and Casey Stengel not available?

The only thing sillier than digging up these two late, great MLB managers is the idea that the Chicago White Sox are seriously considering Tony La Russa for their managerial opening.

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This reeks of living in the past.

La Russa was a great manager. That’s why he was put in the Hall of Fame eight years ago.

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But now, he’s 76, and hasn’t managed since 2011.

If hired, La Russa will collect three paychecks — his regular check, his pension and social security.

Seriously, though, this would be going old school in a modern baseball climate.

Reportedly, the White Sox got permission from Los Angeles Angels to speak to La Russa. The White Sox’s job is an attractive one. The team is filled with some young stars, including stud shortstop Tim Anderson.

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The job came open when the White Sox canned Rick Renteria on Monday.

For sure, the White Sox want to find the right manager for the job and give them another chance at a World Series. The team hasn’t won the Fall Classic since 2005.

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There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a real manager, not a puppet who takes orders from some pocket-protector wearing stat geek who’s never played the game.

That’s where baseball has gone off the rails, hiring managers with no experience or the backbone to manage with their gut instead of a computer printout.

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The other thing that has muddied the managerial waters is that two managers who have won recent World Series are both on suspension for cheating scandals.

A.J. Hinch’s year-long suspension comes to an end at the conclusion of the World Series. Teams still might wait another year before entertaining the idea of hiring Hinch.

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Same goes with Alex Cora. He can get another spot in MLB until after the World Series.

But there are other guys waiting for an opportunity to manage in the big leagues. Many have put in the time and effort to be ready for the next step, including Marcus Thames. He’s the hitting coach with the New York Yankees.

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Thames’ name has been mentioned for the Detroit Tigers’ managerial opening.

As for the White Sox, they are this young, up-and-coming team with so much swag. They are a part of the new breed of players that want to have fun and march to their own beat.

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Anderson, a bona-fide star, is one of them. He admires his home runs and doesn’t care about some of the unwritten rules of the games. That could clash with La Russa.

For sure, the White Sox will be a team to be reckoned with in the American League. This past season, they made the playoffs, but lost to the Oakland A’s.

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Since retiring as manager in St. Louis, La Russa has taken on executive roles around the game, including the league office, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox.

Currently, La Russa is a senior advisor to baseball operations for the Angels.

That’s where La Russa should stay. His knowledge can still be used in the game.

But the idea of putting on a uniform again and going back on the field is a disaster waiting to happen.

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Things like this usually wind up badly.

The White Sox shouldn’t do this and neither should La Russa.

He ended a magnificent MLB run in 2011, winning a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals and retiring on the spot, on top. It was a beautiful thing to tie a bow on a great career and go out on your own terms.

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The last thing La Russa should want is to come back and be fired.

We get it, Mack managed 50 seasons for the Philadelphia A’s before retiring at age 87.

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But those days are long gone. La Russa should resist the temptation to return to the glory days. It’s best if he leaves all that buried like Mack and Stengel.

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