Tony La Russa has been charged with DUI stemming from a February incident ... where he allegedly crashed his car in Phoenix and was "argumentative" with police.
The 76-year-old -- who was just hired to manage the Chicago White Sox -- allegedly hit a curb just before midnight on Feb. 24 ... which apparently wrecked his tire.
Cops were called to the scene and found La Russa standing next to his SUV ... which was still smoking, according to court docs obtained by ESPN.
La Russa reportedly smelled like alcohol -- and told the responding officer he had recently left a dinner with some old pals with the Los Angeles Angels.
According to the report, La Russa told the officer his tire had blown out -- but the cop didn't exactly believe Tony's story and conducted a field sobriety test.
La Russa was "argumentative" -- and refused to take a breathalyzer or willingly offer a blood sample to measure his blood-alcohol level, according to the court docs.
Now, prosecutors are moving forward with DUI charges and if convicted, he could face jail time ... though it's unlikely in this particular case.
La Russa has a previous DUI conviction stemming from a 2007 incident in Jupiter, Florida ... but since it's been more than 7 years, it wouldn't be a factor in his current DUI case, under Arizona law.
As for the Sox, which hired La Russa just 2 weeks ago, a team spokesperson said the organization was aware of the incident prior to hiring him as manager.