CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox star Tim Anderson made his feelings clear about manager Tony La Russa. He wants the Hall of Famer to return for another season in Chicago.
“I want him to be back,” Anderson said Thursday. “At the end of the day, my decision doesn't really matter. I guess it all depends on what the front office thinks. ... I definitely want him in. I think he did a great job with the way he managed and just being open.”
La Russa's future was a bit of a question mark after the White Sox were eliminated Tuesday by Houston in Game 4 of the AL Division Series.
He said afterward it’s up to management first and then the players. If they want him back, then “you check and see whether you got the desire to continue to manage, so I do,” he said.
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf lured La Russa to Chicago out of retirement for a second stint with the franchise that gave him his first major league managing job, hoping the three-time World Series winner could lead a team stacked with stars to a deep October run.
It was an eye-opening move.
La Russa hadn't filled out a lineup card since he led St. Louis to the World Series championship in 2011, and there were questions about how his old-school ways would mesh with the team's young and vibrant stars like Anderson.
“Everybody thought we weren’t going to get along,” said Anderson, who made his first All-Star team this season. “But overall, we were talking behind the scenes the whole time. Just for him, the players come first and he makes that known. We’re one big family."
La Russa had a public disagreement with a couple of his players after he scolded Yermín Mercedes for homering on a 3-0 pitch during the ninth inning of a 16-4 victory over Minnesota in May.
But with one of the top lineups and pitching staffs in baseball, the White Sox rolled to a 93-69 record and beat Cleveland by 13 games in AL Central for their first division championship in 13 years. The win total was their highest since the 2005 World Series championship team went 99-63.
La Russa passed John McGraw for second place on baseball’s all-time victories list behind Connie Mack while guiding the White Sox to their second straight playoff appearance. They had never made the postseason in back-to-back years. But after getting knocked out by Oakland in the wild-card round in 2020, they failed again to advance and were beaten by Houston in convincing fashion.
“I think he did a great job, coming in and being a part of what we've been trying to do," Anderson said. "I couldn't be more happy than what he did. The relationship was great overall. Everybody was just getting along with him. I think he came in and did what he was supposed to do.”