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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: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:04 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I am a life-long Cards fan (40 years) and have to admit I did not care for LaRussa's arrogant attitude (and it shows in some of his players like Pujols, Molina, and Holiday). But he was a great manager. Congrats to him. He will be commentating soon. I hope the Redbirds hire Francona, so they can have beer and chicken in the clubhouse instead of the vegetarian diet of LaRussa.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:54 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Wow.  You all must be right, since you said stuff.  I did not know you all sat beside him there, watching him make decisions.  If he was so great, just imagine how awesome he might have been if he had been sober for the last 30 years.  He would have won every year because he was so amazing at...playing Poopholez, and letting Carpenter pitch.  Nobody could have possibly seen that those guys were good.  Great thing Larussa knew...  Anyway, congrats Larussa.  Let me buy you a drink.  Hold on, first we need to move you 300 empties.

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:49 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Some of these negative comments really cross the line. Some of the positive ones are just over the top.

Tony LaRussa was absolutely one of the greatest managers in the games history, and certainly one of the most unusual, batting pitchers 8th, and even giving them pinch hits sometimes. His success is undeniably, but nobody in the game outside of the Cardinals had respect for him. 'Classy' is not a word I would use to describe him. Instead, I found him to be smug, self-entitled and kind of wormy. I wish him well on his future endeavors, which may include law or writing given his intelligence, but with those well wishes comes an emphatic 'good riddance'  

Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:49 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Congratulations Tony on your retirement. Going out on top is the always the way to go, instead of being one of those managers that hangs on too long and then gets unceremoniously dumped.
This obviously leaves a void to be filled in the managerial position for the St. Louis Cardinals. One person who I would like to see at the very least receive consideration for the position is Willie Randolph.
Congratulations once again Tony on your retirement.

Since: Oct 31, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:49 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Just because someone has made some questionable choices and even more than most, doesnt really mean they aren't good at what they do.  Lawrence Taylor was probably smoking crack outside of Canton, but that didnt mean he wasn't one of the most feared pass rushers of all time?  LaRussa's mistakes are highly publicized because he is in a high profile position.  To question his managerial style is also natural because everyone questions after the fact.  I would tend to believe that Mr. Graves here has never played an inning of baseball in his life to not understand the exact intricasies of filling out a lineup card or knowing when to take out a certain pitcher.  Those things when comparing LaRussa to the rest of the managers who do the exact same tasks everyday.....LaRussa is simply better and one of the best.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:46 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Wow Randall Graves...not sure what La Russa did to harm you but clearly you arent thinking clearly.  He is a top 5 manager all time. Period. He is an innovative manager, who knows how to use his bench and bullpen better than anyone else. He proved it time and time again. Of course every move doenst work out, but his entire career is remarkable. 3 titles is nothing to shake a stick at, especially in small markets like Oakland and St Louis. 

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:44 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

I would say shut up, but the posts are just so amusing to read.

I am a lover of baseball any more than a lover of one single team. I managed to get an Opening Day front row ticket this season in Toronto, and loved it all (despite being neither a Blue Jays or Twins fan). The game has its good points, and has (and has had) some bad points - but until/unless someone is proved guilty, they are innocent. 

And anyone who can coach at the highest level for that long, and win 3 World Series, is clearly a legend.

And what a way to go out, with the least probable win in history - makes me wonder if his pre-decision to retire helped loosen things up enough to get the Wild Card, force the comebacks, and win it all.

It is just fine for people to make negative comments, if they can back them up with some facts (rather than just abuse). If not, feel free to continue - as you are only strengthening the hero worship and therefore doing the exact opposite of what you seek to achieve.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:34 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

BTW, baseball manager is the most overvalued job in professional sports.  I'm supposed to be impressed because Larussa could fill out a lineup card once a day?  Switch to another pitcher when one was struggling?  Wow!!!  I am actually a little impressed, though.  I am impressed that A) Larussa was literate enough to fill out the lineup card once a day, and B) was sober enough to write legibly.  He probably just dictated the thing in slurred speech to his best friend/roid user McGwire, who wrote so hard his pencil destroyed the paper he was writing on.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:29 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

OMG!!! Quick everybody, go buy stock in Jack Daniels!  Larussa is retired.  That stock will go through the roof now, based on future sales alone.  Just please, somebody take his keys before he kills.  Overrated, arrogant, classless jerk.  You will NOT be missed, and for all the idiots coming out with their, "Oh he was such a great coach, he will be missed", quit chokin on his meatstick and realize that he is not the second cmoing of Tim Teabag, but was just an overrated drunk who happened to coach the most 'roided up team ever.  If McGwire becomes the new manager, buy stock in Balco, as well as hypodermic needles.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:29 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Was a great manager but good riddance, rest of the Central might win for a while now.  Especially if Pujols now leaves, which I think the odds just went up greatly.  Atlanta's new coach replaced Cox pretty well but failed at the end of the season.  Will be interesting to see what happens in SL.

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