Blog Entry

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:35 am
 
Tony La Russa goes out on top.

On top of the baseball world in 2011, because his Cardinals won the World Series. On top of the list of modern-era managers, with only Connie Mack (who retired in 1950) and John McGraw (who retired in 1932) ahead of him in total wins.

On top . . .

"He's probably the best of all-time," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Monday morning, after La Russa announced his retirement. "I think you could make an argument that he's the best."

La Russa went from the White Sox to the A's to the Cardinals, and he was successful at all three stops. He won a World Series with the A's, and he won two with the Cardinals.

Along the way, he and Leyland became the closest of friends. They managed against each other in the minor leagues. La Russa hired Leyland as his third-base coach with the White Sox. And La Russa's Cardinals beat Leyland's Tigers in the 2006 World Series.

They nearly met again this year, but Leyland's Tigers lost to the Rangers in the American League Championship Series. So Leyland watched from home as the Cardinals won.

"You talk about capping off a brilliant career," Leyland said.

Yes, Tony La Russa went out on top.
Comments

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:03 am
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox.  It will be quite a while before we see managers like them again.  The drive to want to keep going and love the game.Smile



Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:16 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Starblazer:  very well written.  Tony did it HIS way.  No wonder Tony is such good friends with Bob Knight, who is often at Cardinals games with Tony.




Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: October 31, 2011 8:53 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Simple as to why La Russa is better than Torre or Cox. Won World Series titles in 2 different leagues and in 2 eras. If anything, his work with the Cards is his masterpiece. I believe he had less overall talent to work with than Torre and Cox had with their respective teams in the 90's also. 

Yes, Torre and Cox had playoff appearances for the Braves and Blue Jays respectively. However, they never made it to the World Series. 



Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

You also have to take into account what he did with what he had.  He consistently produced winners, when his teams weren't expected to do much.



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 7:28 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

So several of you have talked about his wins, etc.  So far you have only convinced me that he is at the best the 3rd best ever but probably somewhere in the top 10, that still doesn't make him the best ever which is what was claimed.  Just trying to get past the hyperbole.



Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Without the collapse of the Atlanta Braves they wouldn't of been in the playoffs first of all, let alone won a championship.
That's just a dumb thing to say.  That's like not winning the division but saying "if it wasn't for the team that played better than us for the season, then we would have been in the playoffs".  Atlanta had to collapse, and the Cardinals had to play an amazing month of baseball.  In the end, the Cardinals had a better record.  If Pittsburgh hadn't collapsed after the all star break, then Milwaukee would have been playing for the wild card.


Where were his "best ever" managing skills during the regular season? 
 I'm not agreeing he's the best ever, but where were his managing skills during the season?  They were there to get him in the playoffs with a team that had the most double plays hit into in the entire league (player issue, not a managing issue), most blown saves by a team that made the playoffs ever (partially his fault, but again, this one is the players fault), lost their three of his four top hitters for a good chunk of the season (various times, not all at once) and lost their Cy Young runner up before the season started.  A lot of other teams that had more talent and less adversity didn't even make the playoffs, much less have a historic run.

His great skills also chased a great prospect out of town in Rasmus.
You clearly didn't follow that whole disaster very well.  Rasmus was a clubhouse cancer and routinely got into fights with coaches b/c they were wanting him to do one thing and his father was telling him to not listen to them.  They ended up getting Jackson, Dotel, and Rzypcenski for him, which were all integral parts of the teams run, and since it looks like Jackson is leaving (who's a type 1 FA) they'll get two 1st round picks for him and their OF is already crowded with Berkman, Jay, Holliday and Craig (that's more of a compliment to Mozeliak).
 



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: October 31, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Sorry, just because someone lived in one's lifetime doesn't make him the best ever.  I need something more objective than that.
Great point. Everyone is going to caught up in this championship run and say he is the best ever, He is going to be a Hall Of Famer, but the best ever in a 100 + years of baseball? I would have to say there are managers who did more with less. Without the collapse of the Atlanta Braves they wouldn't of been in the playoffs first of all, let alone won a championship. Where were his "best ever" managing skills during the regular season? His great skills also chased a great prospect out of town in Rasmus.

Bye Bye Pujols. 



Since: Mar 24, 2009
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

Nicely said.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:34 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

  I hope he ends up in the studio at ESPN.  They seem to be more serious about baseball than any of the other outlets, and he would be a great fit.
 
 I hope not and you are 100% incorrect. ESPN is the worst baseball coverage by far. TBS was a far superior broadcaster of MLB with Ron Darling and John Smoltz two gusy who love and understand the sport. They were also literate and extremely enjoyable to listen to. The MLB Network is far superior to all of them. If you've never seen it, you're missing real baseball coverage. If you have and still think ESPN is better, your delusional.

I hope Tony goes to the MLB Network to work with guys like Larry Bowa and Kevin Millard. Their in studio people are the best and there is a feeling that baseball is fun and matters. It's not just passing time until football starts.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:28 pm
 

Leyland on La Russa: 'Probably best of all time'

You talk about capping off a brilliant career," Leyland said.

Yes, Tony La Russa went out on top
Yep. 3rd most wins of all-time, 70 post-season wins, 13 playoff appearances, 11 division titles, 6 pennants, 3 world championships and only the 2nd manager ever to win a title in both leagues. The record speaks for itself. Tony LaRussa the greatest manager of his generation. One of the all-time greats of any generation. An innovator and most of all a winner.

Tony did it his way. He was crafty, unorthodox, snippy, arrogant and passionate. Most of all he was a winner who put his players in the best position to win. He won divisions with 3 different teams and won championships with 2. The last 2 months was the best managing job, I've seen in my life-time as a baseball fan. He brought his team back from 10 1/2 back in late August just to make the playoffs. Then his team ousted the best team in baseball all year in the Phillies. They then took down the team that bested them for the division. Finally, they beat a team that ran roughshod through the so-called superior AL. They overcame elimination for a month, then staved off 4 elimination games and twice were down to their last strike. That's unparalleled. Tony was the glue that kept them together.

Tony isn't the warm and fuzzy guy like Terry Francona is. He's not the know-it-all, psuedo-intellectual Joe Madden fancies to be. He's not the energetic Ron Washington. He's not the wacky, vocabulary destroying white-haired Sparky Anderson. He's not even the gruff, player friendly, cig smoking, old-timer Jim Leyland is. Tony was unique. Tony is a well-educated, snippy, maddening, abrasive genius. Yes, genius. How many managers over their career were as consistent as he was? He wasn't Joe Torre the failure, who caught fire managing an immensely talented Yankee club. He was each and every year the guy who has his team in the hunt and 6 times got them to the Classic. Mr. Consistency. Mr. October.

Tony deserved to dictate when he was to go. He wisely chose to go out on top. How can he top what he and his team accomplished this year? How could he enjoy any ride as much? Word is he'd have quit win or lose. Who knows if that would have happened if Cruz made that catch or Philly finished them off. Fortunately, he didn't need to rethink his decision. He goes out as he should have, as a champion. Go luck Tony in your next journey. You've earned the right to sail off into the sunset. Thanks for making the game a little better.


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