The game of baseball loses one of its all-time greats after Tony La Russa announced his retirement as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals this morning (October 31st). The future Cooperstown inductee announced his permanent leave from the game shortly after coming off the third World Series championship of his career. Last Friday, La Russa’s St. Louis Cardinals wrapped up a seven-game series against the Texas Rangers to add to his ring collection.
La Russa held a news conference at Busch Stadium to make his decision his final and public. He stated that “other than some personal attachments, I feel good. I feel good that this is the right decision.”
He also noted there wasn’t any single factor that catapulted his decision, although his doubts of returning for the 2012 season began midway through this season. La Russa discussed the issue with general manager John Mozeliak and other team officials during this time.Coincidentally, this is when the Cardinals seemed to be out of wild card contention.
Leaning toward retirement was a decision that did not change even through the course of the season when the Cardinals revived their season and crept into the playoffs. He just felt this was the best time to go, and he did so on top.
“I think this just feels like it’s time to end it. … I think it’s better to step away for a long while. It’s a little scary because I don’t know if the phone’s going to ring about doing something else in baseball.” the 67-year-old La Russa said at the news conference.
La Russa spent time as manager for the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics before spending his last 16 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Along with managing, he had a ten year playing career with the Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. He leaves a legacy composed of six pennants, three each with the Cardinals and Athletics, 14 playoff appearances, and his 2,728 victories rank third all-time behind Hall of Famers Connie Mack and John McGraw.
We will most likely see La Russa again in 2013, on the Hall of Fame ballot with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Lou Piniella.