In terms of a lengthy view of the sport, the name Tony La Russa will forever be found atop a list of the very best managers in baseball history.
For that reason, it will make poetic sense that the St. Louis Cardinals skipper announced his retirement on Monday morning following 16 seasons with the team and just days right after reaching the pinnacle of his profession for a third time. It is rare that any athlete, manager or coach can select to retire as a champion, but La Russa is carrying out exactly that. He undoubtedly earned the right to create the choice, having won two,728 games – the third highest total in history behind Connie Mack and John McGraw- over 33 seasons with the Cardinals, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox. He won six pennants and three Globe Series titles and will soon find himself in the Hall of Fame.
Though La Russa leaving the game may possibly come as a surprise simply because we saw so few signs leading as much as it, it cannot come as a total shock. La Russa constantly preferred to manage on one-year contracts so he could evaluate his position following every single season. It is also worth noting that 3 of the 67-year-old’s closest contemporaries – Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Lou Piniella – hung it up immediately after last season. Although it often seemed like the only way TLR would leave the dugout was in a pine box, he’s going ahead and generating the call himself.
Is this definitely it for La Russa? Will a retirement filled with Tv gigs and wearing red blazers at Busch Stadium homecomings seriously placate the ever-calculating La Russa?
Or will the sweet call of the swish of a fungo bat lure him back in a year or two? Only La Russa knows for certain and with additional than 3 decades of expertise with playing it close towards the vest, there’s no way he’s going to tip his hand.
But like I said before, La Russa clearly earned the correct to make this choice on his own. No matter if you loved him or loved to hate him, we were all lucky to watch him work.