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La Russa retires after 16 years with Cardinals

In Archive

10:45 am on Mon, 10.31.11

Updated at 12:12 pm on Thu, 11.17.11

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announced his retirement Monday morning.

The announcement came at a 9 a.m. press conference called by the Cardinals on the morning after the team celebrated with fans its 11th World Series victory at a parade attended by several hundred thousand.

Photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI
Tony La Russa announces his retirement.

La Russa, 67, said he had made his decision to retire in late August before the Cardinals comeback run to the postseason and plans to do "something different." He shared the news with players and coaches after the celebration Sunday.

La Russa ranks third in baseball history in managerial victories with 2,728 — behind Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763), according to a news release from the Cardinals. He is the only manager to win multiple pennants in both the National and American leagues and the second manager to win a World Series title in each. In 1989, La Russa led the Oakland A's to the World Series. Sparky Anderson won World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit.

La Russa, who managed the Cardinals for 16 years, said he had experienced a little sadness and an emotional tug at Sunday's celebration knowing that this announcement would be made on Monday, but he didn't let it dampen the experience.

"You want to enjoy the moment," he said.

General manager John Mozeliak said the team was searching for La Russa's replacement to lead the team into a new era, but "today is about Tony."

Asked how La Russa's resignation might affect Albert Pujols' decision to re-sign, Mozeliak said that he couldn't speak for Pujols but that the star first basemen knew La Russa wouldn't coach forever.

Response from Fans

Stephen Flick, who lives in Oakville, says he is "a baseball fan first and a Cardinals fan second."

In his opinion, "La Russa did the job he was hired to do and if he rubbed a few people the wrong way (which he did me, on a few occasions) — he wasn't hired to be everyone's buddy. ... The whole thing about him not living in St. Louis in the off-season was a weak excuse not to like him. ... Maybe 5, 10, or 20 years down the road ‚— maybe sooner, if the team struggles in the next 2-3 seasons — people will come to appreciate the impact Tony has had on the team, the game, and the town.

Flick says his choice for the next manager would be "Jose Oquendo..., since he's been fairly successful when managing the Puerto Rican baseball team in the true World Championships. Jose also has the respect of many people on the team, as well as around baseball."

miller150atrangrs1031011Long-time Cardinals fan T.M. Miller chimed in from Keller, Texas (and sent a picture of him at Game 4 of the World Series), saying "TLR is/was an enigma. Often he was mostly aloof to the public via the media because he wanted to be. ... He would NEVER have lasted anywhere east of Philadelphia. ... With few exceptions none of today's MLB managers 'connect' with the fans, partly because the fans do not respect, understand or love the game in its pure sense. ... TLR was lucky that his players bailed him out in this Series, again, and in spite of his awkward style of micro-management."

In looking for a successor, Miller would go with Clint Hurdle, "Midwest raised, former Cardinal and disciple of Whitey-Ball."

Sharon Hoffmann lives in St. Louis and says she's been a "Cardinals fan for a long time."

She says that with La Russa gone, "I can go back to games again. After his ... appearing with Glen Beck in DC I refused to go to any more games. (He should move to Arizona where he so defended their immigration policy.) He should not have bought politics to St. Louis fans."

Hoffman has no pick to replace him, but she is hoping for "someone who will live here and be a part of our community. And who is willing to keep politics out of it."

Inform Our Coverage

This article contains information gathered with the help of the Public Insight Network.

Contact Beacon staff writer Mary Delach Leonard.

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