Exclusive: Why Adam LaRoche Has 'Zero Regrets' Walking Away From $13M Chicago White Sox Salary

LaRoche resigned after being told his son could no longer come to the clubhouse.

ByABC News
April 19, 2016, 7:39 AM

— -- Adam LaRoche said he decided to resign from the Chicago White Sox about 20 minutes after “a short, heated conversation” in which he was told he could no longer bring his 14-year-old son to the team clubhouse, telling ABC News in an exclusive interview that he didn’t hold any grudges and wouldn’t rule out returning to baseball.

The first baseman had played 12 seasons for seven different teams and his son, Drake, has been with him practically all the time. Drake even had a locker right next to his dad's in the White Sox's clubhouse.

"I haven't lost an ounce of sleep," LaRoche said of his decision. "I mean, I have zero regrets."

LaRoche, 36, acknowledged that exceptions had probably been made to allow Drake’s presence and that he knew it could come to an end at any time. Nevertheless, he said he was “mad at the time” when Ken Williams, the team’s vice president, made the decision.

“I don't hold a grudge. I don't hate anybody over there. You know, it just made my decision easy,” LaRoche, alongside his son, told ABC News’ T.J. Holmes, adding, “Honestly, it's not the end of the world to me. And I thank my parents for that. The way I was raised. Because baseball -- and I've said it before, I don't want to be defined by this game. I know there's a lot more to life.”

Williams had previously addressed Drake’s presence with LaRoche, the player said, adding that he assumed Williams was referring to his son’s presence during the regular season, so he kept bringing Drake with him for spring training. In his next conversation with Williams, LaRoche said the team’s vice president told him, “’Enough’s enough.’”

LaRoche acknowledged that he had been playing poorly, and said he understood if Williams had wanted his full focus to be on the game.“He may have thought [Drake’s presence] was a distraction. It's absolutely reasonable. That's why I say I really can't, you know, looking back now, I can't blame him,” he said.

At the time, though, LaRoche took exception to Williams’ directive, saying, “All I could hear was ... ‘I don't want your son around.’"

Drake, 14, said he felt it was “normal” to be at the ballpark with his father every day. While his father trained, Drake would clean the other players’ cleats and run other errands, including washing cars and retrieving items from players’ lockers.

“I vacuumed sometimes,” Drake said, adding that he misses his father’s former teammates, whom he viewed as his own friends. “They’re awesome.”

LaRoche's exit from the team meant he gave up the $13 million left on his contract for this season. LaRoche has already earned an estimated $70 million in his career, according to ESPN.

In an interview with Fox Sports after LaRoche’s resignation, Williams said he asked the player to "dial it back" when it came to bringing Drake to White Sox practices and the team's clubhouse.

"All I'm asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back," Williams said he told LaRoche. "I don't think he should be here 100 percent of the time - and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse."

LaRoche said his teammates have been supportive of his decision, adding that some of them were closer to Drake than they were to him.

Being available for Drake during his formative years was essential, LaRoche said.

“Our kids are going to follow in our footsteps, good or bad. And you know, we got a small window here, a very small window here, to turn them into the men that they're going to be. And I don't want to miss six months of that window, even for $13 million.”