Just before the end of the regular season, the manager shuffle began and the Chicago White Sox released Ozzie Guillen from his contract. The following day, the Miami Marlins announced that the outspoken manager would join their franchise. The rumor mills fired up immediately.
Tony LaRussa, the Cardinals skipper for the past 15 years, started his managerial career on the south side of Chicago. His relationship with the ownership of the franchise has remained strong and speculation quickly came up wondering if LaRussa would like to finish his career where it all began.
LaRussa will reach a milestone next year, reaching second on the all time wins list for managers. It was a fair assumption to think he would like to do that wearing the uniform of the team that gave him a shot all those years ago. LaRussa has stated publicly, however, that he feels he only has a few years left of managing and he does not feel that it would be fair to join a new club if he could not give them four years or more. For the first time in a very long time, in my opinion, there is a large amount of confidence that LaRussa will return to the Cardinals next season.
The White Sox have agreed to terms, though not yet disclosed, with Robin Ventura, their former all star thirdbaseman, to manage the club.
Ventura last played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 and finished his career with a .297 batting average, 294 home runs and 1182 runs batted in. He spent some of the most productive years of his career with the White Sox, though his best year would come as a member of the New York Mets in 1999.
Ventura’s best two years
Ventura has no managerial experience, but served last season as special advisor to director of player development Buddy Bell. Ventura had this to say about joining the team:
“When I rejoined the White Sox this June, I said this was my baseball home and that part of me never left the White Sox organization. My family and I are thrilled to be returning to Chicago. Managing a Major League Baseball team is a tremendous honor. It’s also an opportunity and a challenge.
“I am excited to begin my career as a manager surrounded by former teammates, staff, media and White Sox fans I know very well. I already am looking forward to talking to our players, to this offseason and to getting things underway at spring training next February.”
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
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