By Hana Skoblow
Just days after an incredible World Series win by the wild card St. Louis Cardinals, the
team’s manager Tony LaRussa announced his retirement from the Major Leagues. With
2,728 victories, the famously straight-faced Florida native trails only Connie Mack and
John McGraw for wins as a manager and is considered by many to be one of the best
managers in MLB history. His 70 postseason wins are the second most all-time, behind
just Joe Torre’s 84.
Not only did he lead his teams to victory and win three World Series crowns, LaRussa
also changed the face of baseball during his ten years (’86-’96) with the Oakland
Athletics. He was the first to convert a starting pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, into a one-
inning closer and invented the situational reliever, sometimes referred to as a LOOGY,
left-handed one-out guy, used by all MLB teams today. He also invented the strategy of
placing the pitcher eighth in the batting order.
Although Cards fans will mourn the loss of their beloved manager, the future looks
bright for the Cardinals, even if first baseman and free agent Albert Pujols decides to
sign with a different team. With the exception of Pujols, all players are under contract
for the 2012 season, including pitcher Adam Wainwright who has been injured since
February. With great players such as catcher Yadier Molina, infielders David Freese and
Daniel Descalso and outfielders Lance Berman, Jon Jay and Allen Craig, the roster is
strong and the fans are hopeful.
After 33 years of managing the big leagues, 16 of them spent with the Cardinals,
LaRussa said, “I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. It’s time for something different.”
What he will do next seems as much of a mystery to him as tbuy a minor league club; maybe [I’ll] open a book store.”