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La Russa hopes energy builds on South Side

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CHICAGO -- Tony La Russa had one request Saturday night after he threw out a ceremonial first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field prior to the night portion of Saturday's split doubleheader with the Tigers.

He wants the fans' passion back on the South Side of Chicago.

"In those days, you could feel that passion and support," said La Russa, who managed the White Sox from 1979-86 and won the American League West title by 20 games in '83. "This organization is still great and our fans need to get behind these guys because the more you come out, the better they play. This organization really deserves that. I love this organization."

La Russa was accompanied by his authentic Hall of Fame plaque, as part of his induction with the historic 2014 class that included White Sox legend Frank Thomas. The manager, who accumulated 2,728 wins and three World Series titles, has nothing but fond memories of his stay in Chicago.

"I remember when I made the decision not to have a logo [on my Hall of Fame plaque]," La Russa said. "The first thing I said was, no way I would disrespect where it started. The times in Chicago were wonderful because the idea of the family feeling.

"We were all engaged. Everybody in the organization was working to make the ballclub be successful and then the joy we felt in '83. I had some really magical moments, but like I said, they're tied for first. Winning that first one, that excitement, of 'Nah Nah, hey, hey ... ' You can't top that. You can tie it, but can't top it."

Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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