Tony La Russa could be more than intimidating for a first-year manager, but Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Chip Hale won’t be looking over his shoulder this season.
“It’s my team,” Hale told Doug and Wolf during Newsmakers Week on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He knows that and he’s just trying to mentor me and give me the tools to be a better manager.”
Hale was hired in October after the Diamondbacks finished the 2014 season with 64-98 record, the worst in baseball. Although he has never been a major-league manager before, he isn’t a stranger to coaching. Hale managed three different D-backs’ affiliates starting in 2000, including the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders from 2004-06. In 2006, he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year after he led the Sidewinders to Triple-A and PCL championships. Hale then moved up to the major-league club where he was the third base and infield coach from 2007-09 under Bob Melvin.
La Russa has won three World Series titles and six pennants in his 33 years as a major-league manager. He won the manager of the year award four times and finished in the top five of the voting in each of his last 11 years in the dugout. He managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals where he retired with 2,728 wins as a skipper, third-most all time in the MLB.
Even with those impressive marks, Hale isn’t concerned that La Russa will try to dictate the managing process.
“It will be fine,” Hale said. “He’ll come down; we’ll talk about the game. He and Dave (Stewart) both will come down and talk, probably nightly at home and they’ll give a lot of good advice. His thing is, you have to do what you have to do. He even tells me, ‘I did a lot of crazy things managing. But you have to trust your gut.'”