Tag:Tony La Russa retirement
Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:16 pm
 

Potential replacements for La Russa



By Matt Snyder


It's back to reality in St. Louis. The Cardinals got to bask in the glory of their World Series championship for a few days, culminating with a parade Sunday afternoon. Afterwards, manager Tony La Russa told the players he's retiring. Monday morning, the move was announced in a press conference at Busch Stadium.

So it's back to business for general manager John Mozeliak. Here are a few names that might be considered -- or at least names that people might be throwing around the rumor mill in the next few days:

Terry Francona - It feels like he's got to be the immediate front-runner, though this is only speculation. Francona won two pennants and two World Series championships in eight seasons for the Red Sox, piling up a .574 winning percentage despite playing in the toughest division in baseball. He needed to get out of Boston and he did, but that doesn't mean he's averse to another job immediately.

Joe Maddon - Maddon took over the embarrassment that was the Devil Rays back in 2006. In 2008 they were just the Rays and playing in the World Series. These Rays are a perennial contender and Maddon's as much a part of that as anyone. There's no question Maddon is one of the best managers in baseball, but would he leave Tampa Bay? If Mozeliak wants Maddon, he needs to sell Maddon on the difference in experience between Tampa Bay's financial woes, low fan support and awful facilities to what he'd get in St. Louis.

La Russa retires
Terry Pendleton - He played the first seven years of his career for the Cardinals (1984-1990), was the Braves' hitting coach from 2001-2010 and is currently the Braves' first-base coach. Pendleton has been connected to Cardinals via rumors in the past (when La Russa was reportedly mulling retirement) and has also been reportedly considered to be named the manager of both the Nationals and Braves at different times. He seems like one of those guys on the cusp of getting his first shot, so maybe it happens here.

Bobby Valentine - Hey, there's a managerial opening, so we have to throw Valentine's name in the ring, right? I actually think it's a rule, so don't blame me for falling in line.

Ryne Sandberg - Sandberg is probably closer to getting his first shot than Pendleton, but both the Red Sox and Cubs are likely strongly considering him. It would be another slap in the face to the rival Cubs if the Cardinals hired the Hall of Famer (he played the overwhelming majority of his career for the Cubs -- just a heads-up to those historically challenged), but should that even be a consideration in the hiring process?

Jose Oquendo - Another former Cardinals player, the versatile Oquendo was with St. Louis from 1986-1995. He has been the Cardinals' third-base coach since 2000 and has interviewed for several other managerial openings. Oquendo also served as the manager for Puerto Rico in each of the first two World Baseball Classics.

Jim Riggleman - Riggleman played in the Cardinals' minor-league system and also managed at both the Class-A and Double-A levels for the Cardinals back in the early 1980s. He's a very highly respected baseball man, but his track record as a manager isn't sparkling. He's managed 12 seasons and made the playoffs just once (the 1998 Cubs, who had to win a one-game playoff to take the wild card). Also, the manner in which he resigned this past season from the Nationals' managerial post can't leave teams pining to hire Riggleman.

Joe Torre - Um, yeah, he's not going to manage anymore. Don't waste your time even thinking about this one.

Dave Duncan - The best pitching coach in the game is too valuable in his current role. Plus, not many pitching coaches make a successful transition to manager. I can't see the Cardinals taking this route.

Mark McGwire - One year of being a hitting coach doesn't mean he's ready to be a big-league manager. There are so many more qualified guys to have the manager job, I don't see Big Mac even being a consideration.

Albert Pujols - Hey, the White Sox considered Paul Konerko as a player-manager, right? And what better way to afford Pujols than to give him the salaries for both the manager and a superstar first baseman. Plus, he's been calling hit-and-run for years! (This is a joke, by the way. Pujols is not going to be even considered).

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:28 pm
 

La Russa to appear on Letterman Monday night

By Matt Snyder

Now-retired Cardinals manager Tony La Russa won his third World Series championship Friday. Sunday he enjoyed a parade through the city of St. Louis. Monday morning, he announced his retirement. So he's out of the spotlight, right? Nope, not yet.

Monday night, La Russa will appear on CBS, as a guest on Late Show with David Letterman. It's a pretty good bet the championship and retirement will be topics of discussion.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement



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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