CHICAGO (CBS) — One day before the White Sox introduced Tony La Russa as their new manager, misdemeanor driving under the influence charges were filed against the Hall of Fame manager in Arizona.
The charges stemmed from an arrest back on Feb. 24 at 11:40 p.m. local time near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, ESPN reported, citing court records.
La Russa was arrested after he allegedly ran his car into a curb.
The charges were not filed Wednesday until Oct. 28. Arizona officials said the long delay was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its having initially been filed in the wrong jurisdiction, ESPN reported.
The officer described the 76-year-old manager as “argumentative,” and he refused a breathalyzer test, ESPN reported.
The following day, La Russa was introduced as the new manager of the White Sox – a position he also held from 1979 to 1986.
It had been almost a decade since La Russa has managed in Major League Baseball at all; he last managed the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, when they won the World Series. He has had front-office roles since and does not have recent managerial experience, which did not seem to line up with what White Sox general manager/senior vice president Rick Hahn said the team was looking for just three weeks earlier.
During more than 30 seasons as a manager with the White Sox and then with the Oakland Athletics (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011), La Russa’s teams have made 14 postseason appearances, won 12 division titles, six pennants and claimed three World Series championships (1989 with Oakland; 2006 and ‘11 with St. Louis.)
La Russa was fired from his first stint as Sox skipper back in 1986 by then-General Manager Hawk Harrelson. Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has regretted the move ever since, as La Russa went on to win those three titles elsewhere.
It was Reinsdorf who reached out to La Russa a few weeks ago to see if he had interest, and many believe this was Reinsdorf’s decision to hire him.
The move to hire La Russa has been almost universally panned by Sox fans and people within baseball. A national report said it even caused conflict within the White Sox organization.
La Russa pleaded guilty to a different misdemeanor DUI charge in Florida in 2007.
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