Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20

1986 Topps #531 - Tony LaRussa

On this day in 1986, Chicago White Sox manager was fired at the insistence of GM Ken Harrelson, after a 26-38 start to the season.

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf has called the approval of this firing his biggest mistake. The Oakland Athletics snapped the available LaRussa within a few weeks and went on to multiple World Series appearances. The White Sox continued their tumble to the cellar, with interim manager Doug Rader and eventual manager Jim Fregosi. Perhaps Harrelson was in a bad mood, seeing that it was the fifteenth anniversary of his last MLB game played, and LaRussa was the easiest target. Tony was a man that the new GM was not fond of, to put it lightly, and they often clashed. In hindsight, most of Harrelson's moves were the right call, but the majority of his decisions were extremely unpopular. The LaRussa firing was one of Hawk Harrelson's biggest blunders as a GM. As recently as the night before his firing, LaRussa was defending the Sox from people accusing the atmosphere to be that of a circus or soap opera. Much like a soap opera, LaRussa's demise came swiftly and took many fans by surprise.

LaRussa won the last game he managed for the White Sox, breaking a five game losing streak. Tony went 45-34 with the Oakland Athletics to finish out the 1986 season, which meant he went 71-72 for the entire season, combining both teams records under him. LaRuss has won six pennants and three World Series, all after being fired from the White Sox.

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