BOSTON -- For many years, Dave Dombrowski and Tony La Russa expressed the hope that they'd one day have the chance to work together again.
The reunion became a reality on Thursday, when the Red Sox announced the hiring of Hall of Famer La Russa, who will serve as vice president/special assistant to Dombrowski.
La Russa, who won three World Series championships as a manager and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, will assist Dombrowski in all areas of baseball operations, including player development and consultation with the Major League and Minor League staffs.
Dombrowski and La Russa have kept in frequent contact through the decades and will work together for the first time since they were both with the White Sox from 1979-86.
Back then, La Russa was the manager of the White Sox and Dombrowski was the farm director. They've both gone on to have great success with multiple organizations since they worked together.
"First of all, everything you do professionally, if somehow there's a personal connection, I think it adds something to the opportunity," said La Russa. "And Dave and I go way back. We left the White Sox in '86 together, and we always talked about getting back together on the same team. I understand what Dave has become as a front-office executive. And Dave understands most of my career in uniform."
The chance to add La Russa to the Red Sox was something Dombrowski felt was too good to pass up.
"Well, we talked a lot about it," said Dombrowski. "I talked to John Henry, to Tom Werner about it and Sam Kennedy. I think that when I look at the Boston Red Sox organization, when we try to be the best organization that we possibly can, when you can add somebody like Tony that has as much knowledge and leadership capabilities and add him to your organization to help you, it makes you better. And so for me, it's a situation where he's a great resource for many individuals."
In a 33-year managerial career for the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals from 1979-2011, La Russa posted a 2,728-2,365 record while winning the Manager of the Year Award four times. His championships were with the Athletics (1989) and Cardinals (2006, '11).
Rookie Red Sox manager Alex Cora now has quite the resource he can tap into in La Russa.
"He's a very bright young man that's going to be an outstanding manager," La Russa said of Cora. "I'm going to be very sensitive to his position, is the best way to put it. Being down there, he's the one who has to establish his leadership position with the Major League team and his staff. I'll be available. When he asks, I'll give him the best answer. But I'm not getting in his way or [trying] to influence him, because I know he knows the direction he wants to go. I'll just be a resource."
The 73-year-old La Russa has spent 56 seasons in professional baseball, the past four of which were in the front office for the D-backs.
La Russa's wide-ranging experiences in the game also included a stint as a special assistant to the Commissioner in 2012-13. Since '09, La Russa has been on the Commissioner's 14-member special committee for on-field matters.
"I think I've had a really outstanding education starting from the day I signed way back as a teenager until now," La Russa said. "There's a lot to learn about this game. The more you learn, the more you want to learn. I've either made notes or tried to remember everything. I think if there's somebody in player development or a Minor League coordinator that wants an idea about some part of the game, I think I've learned a point or two that can be helpful."
Dombrowski said that La Russa will be a frequent presence around the Red Sox, spending Spring Training with the club while also attending many home games.
Even after all five and a half decades in the game, La Russa sounded like a man who couldn't wait to start his next chapter.
"If you do it right, there's attention to the big leagues. One way is when you play home games, because a lot of your people are here and we can share what we're looking at," La Russa said. "Then maybe on road trips, you go up and down the system. Player development is very important. I think one of the most enjoyable parts for me is being able to talk to young managers, young coordinators -- hitting, pitching, whatever it is -- and pass along some of the big things and little things of instruction.
"My understanding is I'll be involved in both the Major and Minor Leagues, and I look forward to both of those."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.