1983 Donruss #571 - Tony LaRussa
We're smack dab in the middle of the playoffs. When I think of the MLB postseason in the past few decades, I immediately think of Tony LaRussa. He has led each of the three Major League teams that he has managed to the postseason.
The last two teams he won World Series rings with and he has been named Manager of the Year at least once with each team he managed. Those are all great accomplishments, but as regular readers of my White Sox Cards blog may know, I just know him as my grandparents drinking buddy.
Somewhere, probably with one of my aunts, exists a picture of Tony LaRussa and my grandparents from the seventies. I'm not exactly sure of the timeline, but I do know it was in California and it was in between his MLB playing career and his MLB managing career. My grandfather, Wayne, passed in 1985 and my grandmother, Vivian, passed in 1993, but I will always remember hearing Tony's name come up.
The only opportunity that I had to attend a White Sox game with my grandmother happened in 1990. It was well past LaRussa's time in Chicago, but he was in the middle of three straight World Series appearances with the Athletics. I always wondered what would have happened if LaRussa hadn't been fired from the Sox in 1986. I may have ended up meeting the man in 1990. The White Sox may have eluded the embarrassment of the late eighties.
Tony's managerial career may be ending in St. Louis, where he has enjoyed much success, but an early playoff exit this year. His contract is up and I have heard rumors that he may not return. If that's the case, I'm hoping he lands somewhere else and turns their fortunes around. If LaRussa stays, maybe I'll make the trip down to St. Louis next year and take in a game.
Whatever happens, Tony is in control of his own destiny. I'll always have the memories of his time with the White Sox and that magical 1983 season. Wherever he goes, I'm sure that team will reach the postseason in 2010.