Yesterday, Tony LaRussa announced his retirement from Baseball. He managed the Chicago White Sox (8.3 years), the Oakland Athletics (10 years), and most recently the St. Louis Cardinals (16 years). You can read about his retirement HERE.
Tony was signed as a amateur free agent by the Kansas City Athletics in 1962. He played 2nd base and shortstop for most of his playing career, though he made appearances at 1st and 3rd, as well as in the outfield. In 1976, he pitched in 3 games (.300 ERA) for the Iowa Oaks in the American Association (AAA).
He had “cups of coffee” with the Kansas City A’s (1963), and the Oakland A’s (1968+69), and longer stints in Oakland in 1970 and 1971, when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He bounced around the minor leagues with the Braves (cup of coffee in 1971),the Cubs (another cup of coffee in 1973), the Pirates, the White sox, and the Cardinals, who finally released him in 1977(AA).
In 1978, he managed the Knoxville Sox of the Southern League (AA), and in 1979 was promoted to the Iowa Oaks (AAA), replacing Joe sparks. During that year was called up to the Chicago White Sox to replace Don Kessinger, who was fired after losing 60 and winning 46 games. Under Tony that year, the Chisox went 27-27. In 1983, his White Sox won their division (99-63.)
As a manager, Tony certainly found his calling. He won the American League Pennant 3 times, and the World Series once, in 1989 (“The Earthquake Series”) with the Oakland Athletics. He won 3 National League Penants, and 3 World Series, all with the Cardinals, including the exciting 2011 series just over. He also won Manager of the Year 4 times, with the Athletics in 1983 and 1988, and with the Cardinals in 1992 and 2002.
He says of his retirement, “It’s Time,” and we have to honor his decision. We will miss him from the the baseball scene, but wish him the best in whatever he decides to do next.