Tag Archives: coach

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

I think that it is safe to say that in time the trio of Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony LaRussa will all be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If I was a betting man, and this was a bet with any kind of odds, I would bet the house on this one.  Each of these managers left an impression on the sport, on the fans of the teams that they coached, and maybe most important – they left impressions on the teams and fans that were battling against them.

I could comfortably state that Torre, Cox, and LaRussa are the cream of the crop as it relates to successful major league managers from their eras.

With that all being said – how easy is it to say which one is better?

It’s not.

Because what the manager does is not measured in numbers.  At least not in any numbers in which they are awarded for good decisions and penalized for bad ones.

But the good ones, the really good ones, seem to get the best out of their best players and the best out of the ones that are lower on the totem pole as well.

Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa can all take great pride in the team and individual successes of the players that the managed as they certainly had a hand in that success.

For tonight’s ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ I am asking for you to give me the order in which these three great coaches should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  They’re all going to get in – it’s just a matter of time before that happens.

But, who deserves to get in first, second, and third??

While you cannot judge all that a manager does by the numbers his teams put up, it is nice to compare both players and managers in similar categories.

So, here is a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the trio:

  Cox Torre LaRussa
Years 30 30 35
Wins 2504 2326 2728
Losses 2001 1997 2365
Win % 0.556 0.538 0.536
100-win seasons 6 4 4
1st place finishes 15 13 11
Last place finishes 4 4 2
Division Championships 15 13 11
League Championships 4 6 6
World Series Titles 1 4 3
Manager Of The Year 4 2 4

*

The numbers stack up pretty well for these three guys, huh?  For me, the only thing that really stands out is how close to a .500 winning percentage each manager is over the course of their careers.  Deemed as uber-successful, they are all very close to 50%.

And now, time for me to divulge my rankings.

First, a little chatter about each guy:

  • Cox – you cannot ignore the consecutive seasons in which his Braves teams won their division.  I find it to be one of the most impressive feats in baseball history.
  • Torre – he had to manage a ton of egos during his run as the manager of the Yankees. He did it with grace, and it looked like all of his players valued his style.
  • LaRussa – he did it twice, with two clubs.  And he did it with the game’s greatest players on his roster both times (Canseco & Pujols).  His bullpen use is highly criticized, but it resulted in a lot of wins.

But who ranks the highest? 

If you had to select the order in three consecutive induction years in which these three former managers would be inducted, what order would you place them in??

Cox.Torre.LaRussa

Here is my ranking:

  1. Tony LaRussa
  2. Bobby Cox
  3. Joe Torre

When I think back to LaRussa, I never saw him as a ‘losing’ manager.  He took hold of the A’s and Cardinals franchises and took them both to the pinnacle.  I witnessed both Cox and Torre manage losing clubs before they got their ‘breaks’ with the Braves and Yankees.  And while they both had a ton of success, they also had ridiculous lineups – Cox with his Hall of Fame pitching rotation and Torre with his All-World offenses.

For me, LaRussa did the most with the least.  He gets top-billing in my book!!!

LaRussa

How about you?  How would you rank these managers if you had to pick the order in which they entered the Hall of Fame?

Yes, it is splitting hairs as all are deserving – but it is fun nonetheless!!!

Thanks for reading.

Tony LaRussa To Manage In 2012 All-Star Game

Tony La Russa, the longtime manager of the St. Louis Cardinals who retired following his club’s 2011 World Series championship, will serve as the manager of the National League All-Star Team for the 2012 Midsummer Classic at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today.

Commissioner Selig said: “Tony earned this opportunity with the remarkable run that the Cardinals completed last October, and I am delighted that he shared my enthusiasm about his staying in this role. The All-Star Game celebrates all the best of our game, and it is very appropriate that we will have the chance to celebrate one of the greatest managerial careers of all-time as a part of our festivities.”

La Russa will lead the NL All-Stars for the third time (previous: 2005, 2007) and it will mark his sixth Midsummer Classic managerial assignment, matching Joe Torre’s total and surpassed only by Hall of Famers Casey Stengel (10), Walter Alston (9) and Joe McCarthy (7). While leading the Oakland Athletics, La Russa was the American League All-Star skipper from 1989-1991. La Russa has a 3-2 record in his five Midsummer Classics as manager. The remainder of La Russa’s NL coaching staff will be announced in the months ahead.

La Russa, 67, managed 33 years in the Major Leagues, with the Chicago White Sox (1979-1986), the A’s (1986-1995) and the Cardinals (1996-2011). His clubs won three World Series and made six World Series overall. The four-time BBWAA Manager of the Year won three National League pennants (2004, 2006, 2011) with St. Louis, including its National League-best 10th and 11th World Series championships.

This will mark the second time that a retired manager will lead an All-Star squad. Hall of Fame manager John McGraw retired following the 1932 season and managed the NL squad in the first Midsummer Classic in 1933. Two managers led an All-Star team after moving on to new Clubs immediately following a World Series. Dick Williams was the 1974 A.L. All-Star manager after leaving the A’s for the California Angels following the 1973 World Series. Dusty Baker, who managed the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 Fall Classic, was the 2003 N.L. All-Star manager after joining the Chicago Cubs.

Tony LaRussa Retires!!!!

Fresh off his third World Series title — and second with the Cardinals — skipper Tony La Russa announced his retirement on Monday after 33 seasons as a big league manager, including the past 16 seasons with St. Louis.

The announcement was made during a Monday morning news conference at Busch Stadium.

La Russa, 67, most assuredly a future Hall of Famer, ranks third in baseball history in managerial victories with 2,728, behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). Only Mack has managed in more ballgames. The Cardinals skipper is also the only manager in Major League Baseball history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second to win a World Series title in each, as well. La Russa’s Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1989. Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson won World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit.

More than half of his victories — 1,408 — have come in a St. Louis uniform, making him the franchise’s winningest manager, after having led the Cardinals to a surprising World Series title this season. The championship was the Cardinals’ second in the past six seasons.

St. Louis — which lost starting pitcher Adam Wainwright for the season before Spring Training and played without key players, such as Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols and NLCS and World Series MVP David Freese, for significant stretches of the regular season — climbed out of a 10 1/2-game NL Wild Card hole in late August to make the playoffs.

My First Time – Tony LaRussa – May 10, 1963

My First Time – Tony LaRussa – May 10, 1963

The setting – Metropolitan Stadium.  Kansas City, MO.

From LaRussa – ‘As an 18-year old bonus baby, I got up but it took a while for me to get in.  I made it in as a pinch runner, and then the next day as a pinch hitter.  My parents were vacationing in Kansas City that week and they got to see me play in my first big league games.’

The Boxscore – Twins 2, A’s 0.  LaRussa appeared as a pinch runner.

 

Tony LaRussa Autogrpah TTM Request Success!!

I’d wait 42 days for a 2-time World Series manager to sign my cards through the mail.  So you have to imagine how happy I was to unveil 2 Tony LaRussa signed cards when I ripped open the envelope that was waiting for me in my mailbox.

 I’ve followed LaRussa’s career since his coaching days with the Oakland A’s.  I watched as he took one of the most talented teams during the 1980’s to 3 straight World Series contests.  And then a little more than 15 years later he took the St. Louis Cardinals to the pinnacle as well.

Thanks for the great autographs Mr. LaRussa!!!

larussa