Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman, wasn’t the first baseball owner to hire Tony La Russa — Bill Veeck was — but La Russa had his first successes under the Reinsdorf ownership of the White Sox, winning the AL West in 1983 with 99 wins.
Less than three years after that, La Russa was fired by Hawk Harrelson, who had been made White Sox GM in an ill-advised move by Reinsdorf. Today, Reinsdorf commented on La Russa’s retirement announcement in relation to that, saying, “Tony is one of the few people I know who would do something for a friend even if it was bad for him personally. It’s a measure of the man that we fired him and remained friends.”
It’s interesting that Reinsdorf says “we” fired La Russa, since it seemed pretty clear at the time that decision was Harrelson’s alone.
La Russa went on to 25 more seasons of success in the major leagues, and apparently, had told Reinsdorf he was going to retire at the end of the season, because Reinsdorf also said, “I knew Friday night was his last game, and I wanted to be there for it. Like a father who gets more enjoyment out of seeing his children succeed, I was as happy for him Friday night as I was when we won in 2005.”