Is it possible that recently retired St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa would consider staying in baseball, but this time, working with his former team, the Chicago White Sox, and owner and good friend Jerry Reinsdorf?
If the answer is yes, would Jerry Reinsdorf welcome him with open arms and allow him to be part of an organization looking to get back to winning ways?
That answer is definitely yes.
I would love to,'' Reinsdorf told the Chicago Tribune in a telephone interview.
Reinsdorf also told the Tribune that he hasn't talked to La Russa yet about joining the White Sox front office.
We really haven't discussed it,'' Reinsdorf said. We've talked off and on about what he might do in the future but we haven't talked about anything specific. I'm sure that now that he's available, he's going to get a lot of opportunities, chances to do a lot of things inside the game. I just want him to do what's in his best interest, what's best for him.''
La Russa, who announced his retirement as manager of the Cardinals on Monday morning, three days after winning the World Series, said he would not take a managerial or general manager's position but has previously expressed an interest in remaining in baseball as a special advisor. If he were to join the White Sox, he would most likely be tutoring rookie manager Robin Ventura and providing analysis on players, using his classic methods of evaluation and strategy on how to utilize the roster on game day.
Reinsdorf has said that firing La Russa in 1986 was his biggest mistake in sports. After the White Sox got off to a 26-38 start in 1986, La Russa was let go in favor of Jim Fregosi. Reinsdorf allowed Ken 'The Hawk' Harrelson, the general manager at the time, to dismiss La Russa. Harrelson (and by extension Reinsdorf) wasn't too successful thanks to questionable personnel decisions, one of which was trading Bobby Bonilla to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Nevertheless, Reinsdorf and La Russa, and, according to the Tribune, such good friends that Reinsdorf said La Russa tipped him off that he was going to retire after the just-completed World Series.
Reinsdorf showed his devotion by traveling to St. Louis to watch Game 7 last Friday.
I knew Friday night was his last game, and I wanted to be there for it, Reinsdorf said in part of a statement released by the White Sox just a few hours after La Russa officially announced his retirement. 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.
After rallying twice from within one pitch of elimination on Thursday, La Russa's Cardinals finished off the Texas Rangers in seven games on Friday, giving La Russa his third World Series title and second with the Cardinals via a 6-2 victory.
After 33 years as a manager, La Russa ranks third in major league history in victories (2,728), trailing only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). In 2006, he became the first manager ever to win multiple pennants in both the American and National leagues and the second manager alongside Sparky Anderson to win at least one World Series in both leagues.
La Russa is the winningest manager in Cardinals history, with 1,408 wins and 1,182 losses (.544) in 16 seasons with the team. He spent eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1979-1986), where he was 522-510-3 (.506), leading the club to its first postseason appearance in 24 years in 1983, and 10 seasons with the Oakland Athletics (1986-1995), where he was 798-673 (.542), winning three consecutive AL pennants from 1988-1990. He also holds the record for victories by an Athletics manager since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968.