St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony (Anthony) La Russa is retiring on what most would consider the top of the baseball world. The alarming, but humble announcement came Monday morning at Busch Stadium just three short days after the St. Louis Cardinals completed a historic run to the World Series championship.
La Russa told management in August that he intended to retire at the end of the season and even through the team’s surprising run through October; he did not change his mind. During Sunday’s championship rally, La Russa re-affirmed his plan to manager Bill DeWitt Jr. “It’s just time to do a little something else, and I recognized it,” La Russa stated at the news conference. “It just feels like my time. If we won, if we lost, it wasn’t going to change.”
La Russa, 67, notified his players at a dinner Sunday night during which they were commemorating their World Series Victory. “Some grown men cried,” La Russa stated of the reaction. “I kind of wanted that. They even made me shed tears a couple times.” La Russa expressed his intention to stay in baseball in some capacity, though not as a normal manager. John Mozeliak, Cardinals general supervisor, stated that he had “15-20 meetings” with La Russa throughout the playoffs regarding his career position. “It’s tough to swallow,” Mozeliak expressed. “I have to admire how he never wavered.”
La Russa said a long, unpleasant bout with Shingles earlier this year did not affect his decision. He choked up throughout the conference when he talked about his wife, Elaine, and daughters Devon as well as Bianca. Throughout his 16 years in St. Louis, La Russa has actually spent the summers alone in St. Louis with his family living in California. In 16 years with the Cardinals, La Russa put together a 1,408-1,182 (.544) record, as well as won three NL pennants as well as 2 World Series titles. He has a 33-year record of 2,728-2,365 (.536). La Russa is the third-winningest manager in record as well and is considered a candidate for the Hall of Fame. He managed the Cardinals, White Sox and A’s throughout his 33-year managing job.
So who will replace La Russa?
Mozeliak stated he has currently formed a committee to look for a replacement for La Russa, but his replacement has actually been actually determined. Nonetheless, rumor has it that the Cardinals’ managerial job might have merely toppled into Terry Francona’s lap.
If the Cardinals are looking for a sure winner by having huge league adventure, the former Red Sox manager could be the ideal fit. After eight seasons with the Red Sox, 2 of which produced World Series championships, Francona is actually on the unemployment line because his players let him down in September, not because he can’t win. And who better than Francona in St. Louis to stoke the flames of rivalry within the NL Central right now that his former boss, Theo Epstein is running the Chicago Cubs.
To be sure, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has a long list of other choices to browse, among them Terry Pendleton. Pendleton, who played for the Cardinals from 1984-90, has served as hitting coach as well as third-base coach for the Braves, patiently hanging around his turn to regulate.
Among veteran bosses on the job hunt is Jim Riggleman, who got a young Washington Nationals group on the brink of good results prior to his astonishing as well as unceremonious departure in midseason. Riggleman’s 1998 Cubs went 90-73 before bowing to the Braves in the NLDS. Must the Cardinals stay in-house, veteran coach Jose Oquendo is well-liked, respected and would be the most likely candidate. Other long-time La Russa disciples, pitching coach Dave Duncan as well as first-base coach Dave McKay look unlikely fits. Hitting coach Mark McGwire might just be a fan favorite in St. Louis, however lacks managerial experience.
If a candidate is interviewing for the Reddish colored Sox career, there’s little doubt he needed even be actually fascinated in the St. Louis entrance. That brings into play the names of Phillies bench coach Pete Mackinin, Brewers coach Dale Sveum and Reddish colored Sox third-base coach DeMarlo Hale into the mix. With high-profile veteran candidates, Joe Torre has been-there, done-that and, at 71, not the high-energy owner Mozeliak states the business seeks. Ditto for Lou Piniella. Bobby Valentine? Well, thatis actually consistently a possibility, and at age 61 heis actually probably aspiring to one last gig. Yet there’s a particular circle of life excellent that makes Francona the optimal fit. Heis actually overseed in the National League and in opposition to the Cardinals in a Globe Collection. His papa, Tito, played for the Cardinals in 1965-66. There’s enough Tony La Russa in Francona to make him old-school sufficient youth at age 52 to permit him to report to the Cardinals’ budding superstars. The Gateway to the West may merely be the gateway to Francona’s following job.