As Mariners eye La Russa, return to White Sox unlikely

As Mariners eye La Russa, return to White Sox unlikely
January 10, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Despite a close friendship with Jerry Reinsdorf, if Tony La Russa takes a job in another team's front office it he won't slight the White Sox chairman.

A report surfaced on Thursday that the Seattle Mariners have La Russa on their shortlist to replace retiring team president Chuck Armstrong, and La Russa said he'd be interested in moving to a front office role. Seattle may or may not be the right fit. But if it's not, don't expect the White Sox to look into hiring their former manager in a similar role.

Both La Russa and Reinsdorf agree: Because of their tight friendship, working together probably isn't feasible.

"That'd probably be the worst way, that'd be the end of our relationship," La Russa said in June about coming back to work for the White Sox. "No, in fact that's one of my good thoughts is, when I was here, there were times that Jerry -- and afterwards even, like in '94 people blamed him -- I think the city has really come to realize what a gift he is as an owner. Both franchises, he really cares, he really doesn't want it for himself. He's got a legion of friends and family like myself that he takes care of. I have no better friend than Jerry Reinsdorf, and I pull hard for him and his teams, both of them."

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La Russa began his Hall of Fame managerial career with the White Sox, serving as the South Siders' skipper from 1979-1986, when he was infamously fired by then-GM Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson. He went on to win three World Series titles and three pennants while managing the Oakland Athletics (1986-1995) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011).

"I met him for the first time when I bought the ballclub and I was really impressed with him as a person and a manager," Reinsdorf said. "I stupidly allowed him to be fired but I can still sort of justify it because when you run an organization you can’t tell the head of a department who is going to work for him. You let him have his own people. The general manager wanted to let him go and I couldn’t talk him out of it so I had to let it happen.

"... It probably was the best thing for our relationship because we became very good friends on a personal level and that’s really hard to have with someone who works for you."