LaRussa was replaced by Jim Fregosi after Doug Rader managed the two games in between. The White Sox would continue to struggle, in spite of having HOF catcher Carlton Fisk and a talented young outfielder named Bobby Bonilla. At one point, the White Sox also had two HOF pitchers in their rotation, Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton. The team was not that talented, with guys like Wayne Tolleson and John Cangelosi getting a lot of playing time. Several years would go by until the White Sox returned to the postseason in 1993.
The same could not be said for LaRussa, who took over an Oakland that had just let manager Jackie Moore go after a 29-44 record. Jeff Newman managed the team to a 2-8 record before LaRussa compiled a 45-34 record. Though the team did not have very good pitching at the time, the offense was led by rookie OF Jose Canseco. They also had veterans Carney Lansford, Mickey Tettleton and Tony Phillips. Dave Stewart emerged to win 9 games, but this was before the team had added Dennis Eckersley, Rick Honeycutt, Bob Welch and eventually Mike Moore and Storm Davis. So, the pitching staff was still a work in progress. In 1987, another rookie named Mark McGwire would burst on the scene with 40 HRs.
LaRussa made three consecutive World Series appearances for the Athletics from 1988-1990, winning it in 1989. He also went on to win two more with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011, before retiring after the 2011 season. There is no proof that LaRussa would become as great of a manager as he did. But it sure looks bad. Nolan Ryan was traded from the Mets to Angels in exchange for Jim Fregosi. Of course, it was Fregosi who was chosen to replace LaRussa in Chicago.