Tony La Russa Has Change of Plea Hearing Scheduled After February DUI Arrest

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2020

National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa speaks during an induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center on Sunday, July 27, 2014, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Mike Groll/Associated Press

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa has a change of plea hearing scheduled for Dec. 21 in relation to his Feb. 24 arrest in Phoenix on DUI charges.

According to James Fegan of The Athletic, La Russa's attorney, Larry Kazan, pleaded not guilty on La Russa's behalf to two misdemeanor counts filed on Nov. 16.

The White Sox hired La Russa as their manager in October, nine years after he last managed for the St. Louis Cardinals.

ESPN's Jeff Passan, Paula Lavigne and Charlie Moynihan obtained court documents describing La Russa's arrest and the charges filed against him.

La Russa was approached by police after allegedly hitting a curb with his vehicle. He told the officers he had just left a dinner with friends from the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he was serving as a special adviser.

The 76-year-old La Russa was described as "argumentative" and refused to take a breath test or submit a blood sample. After police obtained a warrant to take his blood, his blood-alcohol level came back as .093 percent, which is above the legal limit of .08 percent.

La Russa pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI previously while he was managing the Cardinals in 2007.

The White Sox said they were aware of La Russa's February DUI arrest when they hired him, and they released the following statement last month:

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"As Tony La Russa's attorney said in his statement, Tony deserves all the assumptions and protections granted to everyone in a court of law, especially while this is a pending matter. Once his case reaches resolution in the courts, we will have more to say. The White Sox understand the seriousness of these charges."

La Russa is a three-time World Series winner as a manager, leading the Oakland Athletics to a championship in 1989 and the Cards to titles in 2006 and 2011.

The four-time Manager of the Year was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, and he will look to add to his Hall of Fame resume in his second stint with the White Sox, whom he previously managed from 1979 to 1986.

La Russa will take over a supremely talented team that returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.