Capping the Cardinals improbable run to the playoffs…then, to the World Series…then, winning the World Series–wait, did that really happen? After enjoying the parade and the celebration within baseball’s favorite city, Tony La Russa has retired from the game of baseball after 33 years as a manager–the last 16 in the city of St. Louis with the Cardinals.
A view of the La Russa press conference and it seemed that this decision was made in his heart and head, long before the Cardinals began playing to their potential. They hit on a all cylinders a couple times during the 162 game season, but after hitting a lull in August and slipping from first to third in the NL Central standings, it seemed it would be the second consecutive year without a playoff appearance. Then something happened. And it seems that Tony had more to do with it than the media was ever allowed to know.
Nothing about the career of Tony La Russa seemed predictable. Considering the game of baseball, La Russa is widely credited for the way a bullpen is organized, contracted and pitched in baseball’s contemporary era. He is one of two managers to manage teams to World Series titles in both the American and National League, and Friday’s win in St. Louis offered Tony his 3rd World Series title–his second in St. Louis. La Russa ranks 3rd all time in wins with 2,728.
Cardinals fans are well aware that current base coach/infield specialist and former Cardinals player, Jose Oquendo, has long been in the conversation to succeed La Russa. There are several marquee names available, including Bobby Valentine. Call it a feeling, or a reading of non-verbal communication, but if it’s not Oquendo, I believe it’ll be Valentine. I honestly believe Bobby Valentine has turned down other offers and stayed on team ESPN, waiting for an opening in St. Louis, where he also wants to finish his managerial career.
Congrats to Tony, and thanks for titles 10 and 11 in St. Louis! Enjoy your retirement, and some nice coin for talking baseball on TV. I think you’ll enjoy it.