One day after celebrating their latest World Series win in St. Louis, the Cardinals scheduled an unexpected news conference for this morning. The announcement? Long-time manager Tony LaRussa is retiring.
After 16 years with the Cardinals, and a managerial career that stretches back to 1979 (with the White Sox), LaRussa is hanging up his cleats, having put together a .536 winning percentage, and won six pennants and three World Series.
Team Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Tony leaves behind a legacy of success that will always be rememered as one of the most successful eras in Cardinals history. I knew this day would come. I just hoped that it wouldn’t.”
We give LaRussa a lot of grief around here – most of it deserved – but there can be little doubting that the man knew how to manage. He’ll soon be in the Hall of Fame.
The Cardinals will undoubtedly find a capable replacement (they always do), but LaRussa’s value cannot be overstated. The loss will sting.
And, it’s thus good news for the Cubs.
How LaRussa’s retirement will impact free agent start Albert Pujols remains to be seen. Also open: will pitching coach Dave Duncan – one of the best in the business – remain with the Cardinals? Could he be … wooed?
And, while it’s good that LaRussa is moving on, it does add another high profile managerial opening to the pool. If the Cubs dump Mike Quade, will the Cardinals target the same kind of manager as the Cubs? Will the two teams compete for the same guy?