Tony LaRussa sat on the bench of the 1963 Kansas City Athletics, managed by Eddie Lopat. When he arrived, sort of, in 1968...well, I'll just run through his major league managers: Bob Kennedy, Hank Bauer, John McNamara (in his longest major league stint), Dick Williams, Lum Harris, and Whitey Lockman.
Let's see...his minor league managers? Hmmm...I'm just going to give you the (incomplete) list; most of these won't mean anything to you. Someone named Wilbert Robertson (no, not the old Brooklyn manager, obviously) was his first manager, then Gus Niarhos, John McNamara, Mickey Vernon, Jimmy Williams...no, not Jimy Williams; this was a guy had a twenty year minor league career in the Dodgers system. Who else? Sherm Lollar, Jim Marshall (the guy who had the mid-70s Cubs), Steve Demeter, Loren Babe and Lance Nichols.
Well, first, of all: that's not a very distinguished group, is it? Certainly a lot less impressive than Bochy's list. Second of all, what really distinguished LaRussa is that he didn't spend much time with anyone. The only bit of stability in his major league career was with Oakland when Charley Finley was firing managers left and right, and I don't know if the same thing was happening in the minor league system, but even when LaRussa stayed in place for a while the managers were turning over. About the only tiny bit of stability is that he came across McNamara twice.
I'm not really willing to go back to the previous generation for all those guys. I did Dick Williams in the Bochy post (he traces back to Dressen, Alston, and Paul Richards among others). Eddie Lopat pitched a long time for Casey Stengel, and also for Jimmy Dykes (who of course traces to Connie Mack), and Ted Lyons, Bucky Harris, and Richards, also).
Richards sure seems to show up a bunch...read more about him here. There's Mack and McGraw, among others, in his playing career, but according to the SABR article the big influence was Donie Bush, who was the SS for the Ty Cobb Tigers, managed by Hughie Jennings. And Jennings, as you probably know, was an Old Oriole (with McGraw) for Ned Hanlon.
Whitey Lockman...hey, I don't have to look him up: Durocher. But also Fred Hutchinson, and...yup, he went to the Orioles for a year and played for Paul Richards.
Are you ready? Bob Kennedy? Yup. In addition to Jimmy Dykes and Ted Lyons and a bunch of other guys, there's a year with Paul Richards.
Hank Bauer played for Casey Stengel (who traces back to McGraw and others) for most of his career. And as a manager, he's most famous for preceding Earl Weaver with the Orioles, and winning their first pennant. But, no, even though he did coach there for a year, he didn't overlap with Richards, although Richards' influence certainly survived in Baltimore long after he was gone. Anyway, as a Stengel guy, he's at least a relatively close cousin, no?
Lum Harris, in case you're wondering, basically played for Connie Mack. And then...yup, was a coach for Paul Richards for a decade, in both Chicago and Baltimore, and then in Houston when Richards became the original GM for the team that would become the Astros.
So for Tony LaRussa...five of his seven major league managers played or coached for Paul Richards, and a sixth was not all that far removed.
I'm researching this as I go along; I wasn't going to do this much, but I'm sort of amazed at all of this. Gotta go to the minor league managers. Gus Niahos? Yup, with the 1951 White Sox. Sherman Lollar? Yes, three years with the White Sox. Jim Marshall? Orioles. So that's three more, making it at least eight -- remember, the minor league manager list is incomplete (yes, baseball-reference is only the best thing in the world, not 100% perfect in every possible way).
Hey, I'm leaving something important out. From the SABR article, Richards returned to managing for Bill Veeck after years in the front office...
The 1976 season was a disaster. The White Sox, largely a collection of “nothing” players, lost 97 games and finished last in the American League West, Richards’ only time in the cellar. Some players complained that Richards offered no instruction, didn’t come out for batting practice, and put on his uniform only a half-hour before game time. The Sox general manager, Roland Hemond, recalled, “Paul’s heart wasn’t in it.” The best evidence of that: He was not ejected from a single game for the only time in his 21 seasons as a minor and major league manager.
Veeck brought in a favorite from his Cleveland days, Bob Lemon, as the new manager in 1977. Richards stayed on as a scout and, eventually, farm director. In 1978 Veeck hired a sore-armed minor league infielder, Tony La Russa, to manage the Knoxville farm club. The next year the 34-year-old La Russa became manager of the White Sox. La Russa later said, “Paul Richards’ influence was a career-maker for me.” The old wizard told him, “Trust your gut, don’t cover your butt.” La Russa said, “I’ve lived with it ever since.”