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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 11, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:26 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Tony - what a ride!!!  You are a class act and we will miss you like crazy.  You have cemented your name in Cardinal lore and have nothing else to prove.  I have thoroughly enjoyed your time here.  As a long time Cardinal fan - I wish you only the best in life.  It is a bittersweet day in Cardinal Nation.  Happy for you - hope you have a long and happy retirement - or come and work in our front office!!!

Thanks for the memories - they will be with me forever!!!

Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:25 pm

No one likes a winner

Wow, I'm amazed at all the negative posts about this announcement.  This coach knew how to win in pro baseball, and he did win.  Nothing left to prove.  All the negative posters should be celebrating, because if you hate him so much, you should be happy he's gone.  Now maybe your pathetic team will have a chance.  Reminds of the Bobby Knight haters.  Get a life.  Winners win and losers whine.

Since: Apr 28, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:21 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Can't believe people are still taking shots at him.  Won 3 World Series, is 3rd all time in wins, 2728 games, etc.  He could not pull the wool over peoples eyes for 33 years.  As old Abe would say  "You fool some of the people all the times All of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time".  The Guy was a GOOD MANAGER period.  Stats do not back you up, etc when you talk ill of him or his abilities.  You may not like him, he may have character flaws, but one flaw he did not have is he did not knew baseball.  He did, thats it.  As for putting * by his two other World Series, it seems that that was the normal for the period.  He got no special advantage so it was a level playing field.  I am not justifing it in any way but that is the way it was.  Anything during that period is tainted, sad but true.  Was his team any more or less juiced, I do not know.  I'd have say this is an indication that Pujols is leaving.  I thought I read on this board just weeks ago that LaRussa was hinting he wanted to come back.  Oh wait, these are CBS journalist, I understand completely.

Have a nice retirement Tony and Albert, THINK METS, THINK METS, THINK METS.  If you go to the Yankees, I'll hate you forever!

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:21 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Brewhaha wrote: "I wish you all the best but also hope you receive terrible table service at all dining establishments for the rest of you life."

That is a classic.  But, unfortunately for your wishes, Dave Duncan and Tony LaRussa own a few restaurants in the Bay area, so I'm pretty sure his table service will be perfect.  But you never know when he travels......  

Classy (and funny) post, though.  Great way to say, "Don't let the door hit you in the a** on the way out.  You suck!"  I've always loved the Brewer fans.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:17 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Now he has more time to focus on feathering his hair and raising racists. So long, Soupy. See you at the traffic light. I'll try not to wake
 One of the most classless posts ever.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:16 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Jealous, idiotic comment. Don't bother posting unless you can do it without confirming your ignorance.

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:14 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

who gives a rats ass?

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:14 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

if you provincial hayseeds ever ventured out of your comfort zone you would have something to compare this uptight moron to.
Frizman and RandallGraves, I'm starting to see a pattern. The loser Cubs fans coming out in droves to be morons for everyone to point and laugh at. Priceless.

Gotta love all the stark contrast between the respectful Brewers fans on this board vs. these two inbred parasites. Have fun basking in your faux-East-Coast-elitism. (And here I thought the losers were supposed to be lovable...)

packerzrule, Gman, BrewHaHa, way to make Milwaukee seem vastly superior to Chicago once more.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:08 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

Almost all "great" managers have one thing in common----they all managed teams with GREAT talent.  But as infuriating as it has been to see 162 games with 162 different line-ups here in St. Louis year after year, you could see that the frequent use of bench players in the everyday line-up gave those players valuable experience to the point where they were ready to go come post-season time.  And look at how the bench players have done---Freese started off the season coming off the bench, Allen Craig with clutch hit after clutch hit this post-season, Scott Spezio leading the Cards in '06 NLCS vs. the Mets. LaRussa deserves credit for this.

I never liked his post-game demeanor after a loss---he was almost always condescending and arrogant.  And I think his batting the pitcher 8th when the team was back in the standings was his ego shining thru, letting everyone in baseball know he was smarter than everyone else.  And the way he handled Ozzie Smith in 1996 (Ozzie's final season) was pathetic at best.

But when push comes to shove, love him or hate him (and this Cardinal fan really didn't care for the guy too much), you have to look at the bottom line in professional sports, and he got the job done.  3 World Series championships (only done by 7 or 9 managers, can't remember the exact number).  I believe than he and Torre are the only men alive to accomplish that feat.  I'll give credit where credit is due.

I'll also say that he was the "Godfather" of steriods in baseball, though.  He cannot escape that legacy.  He turned a blind-eye to it, and we CANNOT overlook that fact. 

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:07 pm

Tony La Russa announces retirement

He just wanted to upstage the Rams victory yesterday.

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