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Tony La Russa announces retirement

Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:19 pm

By Matt Snyder

Just three days after winning his third World Series ring, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has decided to retire from managing. He made the announcement at a press conference Monday morning.

“My most prominent feeling today as I reflect back on my 33 years of managing and my 16 years as a St. Louis Cardinal is my overwhelming gratitude for the good fortune that I have had and the many people who helped me along the way,” said La Russa.  “I had the opportunity to work for three organizations that were all very different, but very much the same in the most important way – their drive for success.”

In a surprising revelation, La Russa noted that he already had his mind made up he was going to retire at the conclusion of the season, regardless of the outcome. He mentioned that he told general manager John Mozeliak in late August.

"It's just time to do something else, and I knew it," he said. "If we won, if we lost, it wasn't going to change."

He also said that he told the players after the parade celebration Sunday evening and that "some grown men cried."

La Russa retires
In hindsight, La Russa seemed to be enjoying himself in press conferences more than he ever had before, just enjoying one final ride. It turned out to be a magical ride, as the Cardinals would win an amazing Game 6 and take control of Game 7 in the early innings, winning Game 7, 6-2. All this after being 10 1/2 games out of the wild card in late August. And the Cardinals played all season without injured ace Adam Wainwright.

La Russa, 67, has been a manager for the past 33 seasons, having stints with the White Sox, A's and then Cardinals. He won the AL Manager of the Year three times and the NL Manager of the Year once. He won 11 division titles and twice took the wild card. He was at the helm for six pennants (three with the A's, three with the Cardinals) and three World Series championships (1989 with the A's; 2006 and 2011 with the Cardinals). His 70 career postseason wins are second to only Joe Torre, and La Russa's 2,728 regular season wins are third in history, behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw.

Love him or hate him, there's no getting around the fact that La Russa will go down in history as one of the greatest managers in baseball history.

“On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization and our tremendous fans, I want to thank Tony for everything he has done over the past 16 years to help keep the Cardinals among the most respected and revered franchises in all of professional sports,” said Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. “Tony leaves behind a legacy of success that will always be considered one of the greatest eras in Cardinals history; an era that began immediately with a Division title in 1996 and was capped off with a World Championship in 2011”

Regarding the All-Star Game next season -- usually the World Series managers manage their respective leagues -- Major League Baseball will now decide who manages the NL All-Stars. The last time a World Series manager left his team was in 2003, when Dusty Baker took over the Cubs job (he was the Giants manager in the '02 World Series). Baker ended up just managing the '03 game. If La Russa wants to manage the '12 All-Star Game, he surely will. It's just a question of what he wants to do.

As for a possible return full-time, La Russa flatly said "no," when asked if he'd ever manage again.

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Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:44 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Glad he is retiring. He is a jerk of a manager

Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:31 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

He is and was a very good manager. Wish my Mets would have had him all these years. He knows what he was doing...will be missed...

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:26 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I have to admit I'm kinda sad to read this, even though I'm not a Cardinals fan. As a fan of Baseball there are always those players or managers who are just icons who stand far far above the game, and now we've just seen the last of the Iconic managers of mine and my parents days step away. Moving forward it's going to be strange to me as a fan not to hear about or watch LaRussa's genious in deploying players or knowing how/when to give the young kids a chance. I'll be weird to not see Joe Torre's steel resolve and straight up mastery of all things baseball related. Most of all though, I think I'm going to miss the fiery nature and the pure passion of Bobby Cox and Lou Pinella, probably LaRussa's greatest on-field rivals.

I, personally, would like to see all 4 of these managers get into the Hall of Fame (where we know they're going to be in the end) in the same year. If that happened I think it'd be safe to say it would be the greatest Hall of Fame class there ever was and probably ever will be.

Since: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:13 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Haha yes!  Pirates trolls.. gotta love them.

1) The Cardinals were not "marginally better," they were 18 games better

2) The Pirates will not compete at the Cardinals level for quite some time

3) The Cardinals just won the World Series, something you, Pirates troll, may never see

Since: Oct 29, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:00 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I'm not surpised at all that he is retiring.  I think he will go down as one the best manager ever in the major leagues.  He showed how good a manager he is in this year's World series

Since: Oct 31, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:54 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Heck of a career and congratulations on a championship season!.  Hall of Fame will be welcoming you soon!

I am not sure how you and the cardinals got "let into the playoffs" as somebody spouted.  Y'all had the better record over an entire season and that's generally how they determine the Wild Card.  You also beat the Braves 5 out of 6 in head to head.  I was always taught to be a good sport win or lose.  Congratulations Cardinals and Tony for an incredible couple months of baseball and a tremendous amount of excitement for all real baseball fans.

Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:49 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I'm happy to see Tony LaRussa leave the game of baseball on top and on his own terms, but I'm also saddened because I've been watching him for years and have great respect for him. This was a great way for him to leave the game with his third World Series win as a manager. It's rare when an athlete or coach has the chance to leave their sport on their own terms and being on top at the same time. Thanks for the memories Tony LaRussa! 

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:31 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

That's the way to do it! Leave on your own terms and on top of the baseball world. Congrats to Tony on a great managing career. He was one of the tops in the game. It should be interesting to see if La Russa leaving has any affect on whether Cardinal players stay or leave the team...

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:30 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

The only reason LaRussa is going to hang them up is his total fear of what is store next year...namely the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Tony knows they were only marginally better than the Bucs this yea,r and have little hope of competing with them in balance of this decade.  Still have a hard time understanding why the Cards could not win the series in five games...that is where I had my money.

Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:04 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Seems we could shift Berkman and use ALL that money to develop in other directions...  I don't want to see him go, but if he does it's not the end to baseball in STL.

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