Nothing like going out on top, and there’s not much higher than winning the World Series, in all of American Sports. Tony La Russa, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals for the last 16 seasons, winning two World Series this decade, adding to the one he won with the Oakland Athletics in 1989, decided to retire from managing.
After 33 years as a manager with the Chicago White Sox, A’s and Cardinals, La Russa is third on the all time wins list with 2728 wins (53.6%), behind John McGraw with 2763 and Connie Mack with 3731.
La Russa said that decision has been with him for sometime, and he already told club officials and General Manager John Mozeliak about his forthcoming retirement in late August. He told the players he was done moments after the celebrations subsided at the Stadium on Sunday Night. Chris Carpenter Recalled – He spoke about how proud he was of the team’s championship run, and then he said that he was done. Everybody was surprised, shocked. I think every single guy in there was emotional and gave big old hugs on the way out.
During La Russa’s tenure with the Cardinals, he made the playoffs nine times, winning the NL Central 7 times. He made the World Series in 2004 only to lose against the Boston Red Sox. The 67 year old future hall of famer, for his managing accomplishments (La Russa also played for a decade between 1963 and 1973), had a few goodbye words in the press conference – I think this just feels like it’s time to end it. I feel good that this is the right decision.
He didn’t shed any tears, unlike some of the players did when he announced it to them – Some grown men cried. I kind of liked that because they made me cry a few times. Will he manage again? No. What will he do next? Maybe open a book store,
For the Cardinals, finding a manager becomes a priority right next to re-signing Albert Pujols. The next man, the man who’ll inherit La Russa’s legendary seat, will get one of the best jobs in Baseball, with Pujols or not. Owner Bill DeWitt has no illusions about his replacement – We’re not going to find a Tony La Russa out there, given his career and what he’s accomplished, what he’s meant to the Cardinals. We’re in a pretty good situation for the future. But it’ll be different, no question about it.