x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

La Russa bows out on top with Cardinals

Three days after guiding the St Louis Cardinals to a World Series title, Tony LaRussa says he is stepping down as manager.

Tony La Russa says it was not a single factor that led to his retirement, but admits he did start having doubts about returning in 2012 at some point mid-way through the 2011 season.
Tony La Russa says it was not a single factor that led to his retirement, but admits he did start having doubts about returning in 2012 at some point mid-way through the 2011 season.

ST LOUIS // Tony La Russa retired as manager of the St Louis Cardinals on Monday, three days after winning a dramatic, seven-game World Series against the Texas Rangers.

The 67 year old announced his retirement at a news conference at Busch Stadium.

The World Series win over Texas was the third of La Russa's 33-year career. The manager guided the Cardinals to the championship despite being 10-and-a-half games behind Atlanta on August 25 for the final play-off spot in the National League.

La Russa retires third on the all-time wins list behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. In addition to this season, he won championships in Oakland in 1989 and St Louis in 2006.

"Other than some personal attachments, I feel good," La Russa said. "I feel good that this is the right decision."

La Russa said there was not a single factor that led to his decision, but he began having doubts about returning for 2012 midway through the season. In late August he told John Mozeliak, the general manager, and other team officials.

La Russa said the timing of those discussions - about the time the Cardinals appeared to be out of wild-card contention before their remarkable run - was pure coincidence. He said he simply felt it was time to go, a feeling that did not change even as the Cardinals got into the play-offs on the final day of the season, then upset the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Rangers.

"I think this just feels like it's time to end it," La Russa said.

He spoke with little emotion with one exception, when he paused to compose himself as he thanked his wife, Elaine, and two daughters for putting up without him over much of the past 33 years. But he did say his meeting with the players after Sunday's parade and celebration was short but emotional.

"Some grown men cried," La Russa said, then he joked: "I kind of liked that, because they made me cry a few times."

Mozeliak said a search committee will be formed and did not speculate on how long the process to name a successor to La Russa might take.

As to his future, La Russa answered flatly: "No," when asked if he will ever manage again, but said he is open to some sort of baseball job in the future.

"Maybe open a book store," he said.