Blog Entry

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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Comments
whatumean
Since: Oct 10, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:59 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

See, all your point proves, iamlapointe, is that he was arrogant (smartest in the room comment) and unlikable.  On behalf of everyone who has a clue, good riddance.  Enjoy your (drunk) retirement.


I hated him too, put he was a great manager.  He rarely had a team favored to win it all, yet somehow they always strung it together.  That is the sign of a world class manager, even if he is a tool.  



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I dont want to spoil the Cardinals and fans amidst their celebration(Your welcome for letting you in the playoffs). Maybe LaRussa knows how impossible it will be for them to keep Pujols, so 'get out while you can' sort of situation for him. Without LaRussa and likely Pujols, the Cards will be fighting for fourth in the Central, that is unless they were to sign Fielder if they lost Pujols. That would give them a shot at the Wild Card....



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I dont want to spoil the Cardinals and fans amidst their celebration(Your welcome for letting you in the playoffs). Maybe LaRussa knows how impossible it will be for them to keep Pujols, so 'get out while you can' sort of situation for him. Without LaRussa and likely Pujols, the Cards will be fighting for fourth in the Central, that is unless they were to sign Fielder if they lost Pujols. That would give them a shot at the Wild Card....



Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Good on you Tony! Very few are smart enough or brave enough to go out on top ... on their own terms. Always a class act he deserves a peaceful happy retirement.



Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

See, all your point proves, iamlapointe, is that he was arrogant (smartest in the room comment) and unlikable.  On behalf of everyone who has a clue, good riddance.  Enjoy your (drunk) retirement.



Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement


Wow.....it must be nice to be able to turn down millions of dollars to do something you love......seriously.

Well, good for him.  It would be nice if every one of us could all go out like this, on our own terms.

Clearly, the records meant nothing to him, but if it were me I probably would have stayed at least one more season to get the 36 more wins he needed to surpass John McGraw for second on the all-time 'wins' list. (Connie Mack at #1, with more than 1,000 wins more, was pretty much out of reach) .

Good job, and good luck Mr. La Russa.

As a Brewers fan, we may have always hated playing against you, but we (well, many of us, anyway) always respected your talent, and your teams.




Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Not a Cards fan but will give props to La Russa.  Regardless of how he was viewed by the fans as a manager, he won his last game on the last day of the season and chose to walk away.  This senario doesn't happen too often.  He was a solid skipper over an extended period of time.  I wouldn't call him the best ever, but his resume shows that he was pretty darn good.



Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Throughout the years, articles about Tony La Russa often noted that while he might not be the most likable guy around, more often than not he WAS the smartest guy in the room.  Very few episodes in the La Russa legacy would offer greater testimony to that reality than his decision to retire at this time.  Think of the players, coaches and managers, including quite a few who had the luxury of an opportunity to go out on top late in the game, who just couldn't pull the trigger.  In so many cases the reluctance to retire at an ideal point in time resulting in the luster of great great careers to become a dulled legacy.



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Good luck in retirement, Tony.  As a Cubs fan, I "hated" you and your team.  As a baseball fan, I admired your coaching ability and the way you pulled a team together.


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