Why did Tony La Russa retire? Hall of Fame manager announces intention to step away from White Sox in 2023

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In a year that seemed destined for so much promise, the White Sox fell flat on their face. The reigning AL Central champs limped to a subpar record, finishing closer to the sub-.500 Twins than division champion Guardians in 2022.

Given the colossal failure that was Chicago's season, it always seemed likely that heads were going to roll. And it seems that the clear out has started, with manager Tony La Russa announcing that he will step down in 2023.

The Hall of Famer manager found success hard to come by during his second tenure in the South Side. La Russa, 77, oversaw the White Sox's divisional dominance in 2021, leading Chi-town to a comfortable AL Central title.

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2022 was a different story. The Sox struggled to put it together under TLR's helm, falling behind fast in the divisional chase. La Russa was then forced to step away with health issues in late August, a move that precipitated his early departure.

Here's what you need to know about La Russa' impending retirement.

Why did Tony La Russa retire?

Per Monday's statement, La Russa's health is the primary factor motivating his decision to step away from the game. La Russa had a pacemaker implanted into his heart prior to the season.

In late August, La Russa's pacemaker gave him difficulties. On Aug. 30, doctors recommended he undergo further cardiac testing. La Russa missed Chicago's clash with Kansas City that day and hasn't returned to the dugout since.

During his leave away from the team, a second issue related to La Russa's heart was discovered. After discussions between La Russa, his medical team and the White Sox's front office, La Russa opted to step away from the franchise for the 2023 season, the last year of his contract.

"At no time this season did either issue negatively affect my responsibilities as White Sox manager," La Russa's statement read. "However, it has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023. The timing of this announcement now enables the front office to include filling the manager position with their other off-season priorities."

La Russa acknowledged that Chicago's record this season was a real sour note on his managerial career, calling the White Sox's performance "an unacceptable disappointment."

I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record is proof. I did not do my job.

Chicago's season was in many ways defined by La Russa's managerial woes. He had a penchant for intentionally walking batters in unnecessary situations.

Like this.

And this.

And this.

And this. 

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For many, La Russa's baffling decisions served as a reminder that the game had passed him by. The legendary skipper cited that even if his health issues hadn't surfaced, he'd have considered stepping away from the game on account of "fan discontent."

Who will the White Sox hire as manager in 2023?

Early statements from White Sox brass seem to indicate that the organization will conduct an extensive search for its next manager. General manager Rick Hahn indicated that bench coach and current interim manager Miguel Cairo would be interviewed for the position, although Chicago will also look outside the organization for potential candidates.

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