Tony La Russa has taken a club to the postseason 14 times in his managerial career. Now the Chief Baseball Officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks, no one is really giving his new club much hope to start off the year. But, La Russa said the D-backs remind him of the one he guided to the postseason in 1983.
“Of all the years, I think there’s some exciting comparison, starting out with the first time I went to the postseason, which was ’83,” La Russa told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “We had young pitchers. We had Harold Baines and Scott Fletcher, Vance Law. We had a lot of young guys and we had a couple quality veterans.”
In La Russa’s first postseason run with that 1983 Chicago White Sox team, he also earned his first of four Manager of the Year awards. Led by veterans LaMarr Hoyt, who earned the AL Cy Young Award, and Carlton Fisk, who finished third in the AL MVP race, the White Sox finished the regular season with the most wins in baseball.
As far as the young guys, outfielder Ron Kittle won AL Rookie of the Year after hitting 35 home runs and having 100 RBI. Richard Dotson, a 24-year-old, went 22-7 with a 3.23 ERA.
Could that team really compare to the current Diamondbacks?
“What I’m seeing here, if you watch the last two [spring training] wins, our club has very exciting offensive potential,” La Russa said. “Guys can hit. Most everybody runs well. Chip (Hale) has really been emphasizing that we’re going to play the big game and the little game, and he’s putting on signs. So, I think there’s some direct correlation.”