Tony La Russa steps down as Chicago White Sox manager to focus on his health

Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa is stepping down from his job with the Chicago White Sox due to a series of health issues, ending a disappointing two-year stint on the South Side.

La Russa announced his resignation on Monday, a day before his 78th birthday.

The three-time World Series champion has been away from the team since August 30 as he has deals with complications from a pacemaker that was implanted in February.

La Russa has also been dealing with a second, undisclosed health issue that led to his resignation.

"It's become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for the second issue makes it impossible to be the manager in 2023,'' La Russa said. "The timing of this announcement now enables the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities."

La Russa added that his "overall prognosis is good, and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me with well wishes related to my health."

After winning the AL Central with a 93-69 record last season, the White Sox entered this year among the American League favourites but have failed to live up to expectations.

Chicago entered play Monday at 79-80, already eliminated from playoff contention.

The White Sox did stage a run in early September under interim manager Miguel Cairo, going 12-5 through September 18, when they were just three-and-a-half games back of the Cleveland Guardians in the division.

The club proceeded to go on an eight-game losing streak with Cleveland securing the division title.

La Russa took accountability for Chicago’s up-and-down season as the White Sox remain without a postseason series win since the 2005 World Series.

"I understand the ultimate responsibility for each minus this season belongs to the manager," he said. "That's accurate, because there's always something else you could do.

"I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record this year is proof I did not do my job."

La Russa did not say if he would consider managing another team in 2024 or beyond. He has a career record of 2,900-2,514 (.536 win percentage) with the White Sox (1979-86, 2021-22), Oakland Athletics (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011).

General manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox will begin an exhaustive search for a new manager and will be looking for "different perspectives" from that hire.

"One thing that perhaps breaks from the mould of at least the last few hires: having a history with the White Sox, having some sort of connection to White Sox DNA is by no means a requirement.”

Despite under-achieving in 2022, Chicago’s roster includes several bright spots, including outfielder Luis Robert and breakout starter Dylan Cease.

"It was a disappointing year," Hahn said. "We all need to get better at multiple facets. There needs to be ... obviously manager/staff changes and personnel changes.

"My only point is, and it's easy at the end of a disappointing season to say you have to burn it to the ground. I think that's not where we're at as an organisation."