Never afraid to be his own man, Tony LaRussa is now the only manager in Major League Baseball history to retire after winning the World Series, leaving the St. Louis Cardinals after 16 seasons.
Your feelings on him aside, his legacy looms LARGE within this organization, community and fan base. Time romanticizes everything, and when you make the most improbable of post-season runs, lead a parade of hundreds of thousands of Cardinal Nation down Market Street and then retire? The news is only a few hours old and this already feels like a movie.
Midway through 2012, it’s going to feel like a looming specter hanging over the left field fence at Busch that Ballpark Village never has provided.
We’ll have much more on LaRussa this week, but a few thoughts immediately in the aftermath of this surprise bombshell.
+ I’ve always like LaRussa. Maybe it’s because I feel like he gets just as pissed as me when the Cardinals play like crap. Maybe it’s because his daughter Tweets at me now and again. Or anything in between. But the most formidable years of my baseball fan development were formed with LaRussa at the helm of my team. He’ll be the stick I measure other managers against, not Herzog.
+ Number 10 will not be worn again by a Cardinal. It’s possible that two future retired numbers will leave the Cardinals after the same Championship season. That’s crazy.
+ The next manager of the Cardinals needs to have experience. Remember when Tino Martinez replaced McGwire? That was awful. And Martinez was an established MLB player. A good one at that. Back to my point about the romantic nature of this exit. There will be no ‘what ifs’ for TLR. He left at the top and the next manager will have to live up to that expectation. To put a first time coach in that dugout with what will be a championship contender in 2012 is a mistake.
+ Probably not happening, but I’m looking at Joe Maddon in Tampa and thinking he’d do just about anything for this job. I’d love to have him. If I had to bet a buck, I say Jim Riggleman takes the reins.
You might enjoy this article re La Russa.
I enjoy your blog from time to time.
Cheers. And, Congratulations.
It's a shame TLR didn't raise up a protege while he was around this year. Would have made things so much easier if there was one other person in the world who knew why he changed pitchers when he did.
Seriously, though, what are the odds of Duncan sticking around next season, with his wife's health issues? I'm thinking not great. So we might as well start kicking around ideas for both slots.
Liliquist will likely get the pitching coach job full time, as he probably should. I dunno if I see Jose as a manager, but I'd love to give him a chance and find out. I think StL would be more kind to Jose if he comes in and has a bad first season than someone like Riggleman.
It sounds like "Mighty Mo" is interested in keeping most of the current crop of coaches. That move would certainly limited the potential managerial talent pool. With this scenario, I can't see Madden accepting the job so...here comes Riggles.