Home > Uncategorized > Cards’ La Russa, Crew’s Hairston go way back

Cards’ La Russa, Crew’s Hairston go way back

October 14, 2011

ST. LOUIS — Tony La Russa’s connection with Jerry Hairston goes back 33 years, to when the Cardinals’ manager started his first year at the helm for the White Sox.

During La Russa’s first year as manager in 1979, Jerry’s grandfather, Sam Hairston, was a coach with the Birmingham Barons, Chicago’s Double-A affiliate. Hairston remained with the Barons for 12 seasons and previously served as a bullpen coach and scout for the White Sox.

In 1981, La Russa’s connection with the Hairston family grew, as Jerry Hairston Sr. began his second tenure with the White Sox. It was then that La Russa first met the younger Jerry.

“I really enjoyed Jerry [Sr.], one of my favorite players, and then he had these two little kids, two little jerk kids running into my office telling me to play their dad more than I’m playing him,” La Russa said. “I’d say, ‘OK, maybe I should, but get out.'”

Sam Hairston passed away on Oct. 31, 1997, and Jerry Jr. made his Major League debut the following April for the Orioles.

Now 30 years since his father first played for La Russa, Hairston is the everyday third baseman for the Brewers in the National League Championship Series, coming through with a number of big hits against the Cardinals.

Said La Russa: “Yeah, it makes you feel real old to see Jerry Jr. kicking our butt like he does, but I hope Sam is appreciating it.”

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