Tag Archives: Tony LaRussa

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, And Bobby Cox Going Into Hall of Fame

Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, And Bobby Cox Going Into Hall of Fame

From MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For the first time in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, three of the greatest managers of a generation — Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa — will be inducted on the same day this coming summer.

The three, who accumulated 7,558 regular-season wins, 17 pennants and eight World Series titles, were elected unanimously by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee during a lengthy meeting on Sunday. The announcement by Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark was made on Monday morning as the annual Winter Meetings began.

Cox spent 25 of his 29 seasons as a big league manager with the Braves, winning the 1995 World Series and 14 consecutive division titles. Torre, who managed for 29 seasons, won six pennants and four World Series with the Yankees in an eight-year period from 1996-2003. La Russa managed for 33 years, winning it all once with the A’s and twice with the Cardinals. They all were notified of their elections at about 8:30 a.m. ET.

“I am thrilled that these great managers during my tenure as Commissioner will join the legends of our game in the halls of Cooperstown,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime. For decades, these three individuals not only led great ballclubs, but instilled in their teams a brand of class and professionalism that baseball fans admired. It is fitting that Bobby, Tony and Joe will share our game’s highest honor together.

“Joe and Tony have been outstanding members of our staff at Major League Baseball in recent years. On behalf of all of their colleagues with MLB, it is an honor to congratulate them and their families on this milestone. I look forward to a remarkable day for all of baseball next July 27 in Cooperstown.”

La Russa, Torre and Cox rank third, fourth and fifth in managerial victories in Major League history, each winning more than 2,000 games. Only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) won more games than La Russa (2,728), Cox (2,504) and Torre (2,326).

They will enter the Hall of Fame on the second day of Induction Weekend, to be held July 26-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“When I think of these guys, I think of the respect they’ve had from their players, their fans and their organizations,” said Phil Niekro, a Hall of Famer who pitched for both Cox and Torre, was briefly a teammate of La Russa’s, and was a member of the election committee. “They are men of integrity and character. I was honored and privileged to play for a couple of these guys.

“We’re in Disney World right now. This is a Magical Kingdom. I think we just honored the three kings among the managers. It’s a magical day for each and every one of them, and we’re so excited about having them in the Hall of Fame.”

Cox’s election is matched up with the candidacies on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot of two Braves pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who pitched together for Cox for a decade and between them spent 28 seasons with Atlanta. Maddux totaled 355 wins and Glavine won 305.

“I’m still getting goose bumps,” Cox said. “I’m excited to be in Cooperstown in July and get inducted. It’s the greatest honor you can have in baseball. I’m going in with great company. I’m just hoping that Glav and Mad Dog can be up there on the stage with me. They were two of the guys who got me there, or helped get me there. That would be the final, finishing touch, going in with those two.”

Cox, Torre and La Russa were among 12 people on the Expansion Era ballot, which included another landmark skipper, Billy Martin; players Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons; Marvin Miller, the influential executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association; and iconic Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner.

None of the other nine received more than six of the 16 possible votes. Like all Hall of Fame elections, a candidate’s name needs to appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots to be elected. On this committee, that was 12 votes. Each member could vote for a maximum of five candidates.

Miller’s name had previously been on ballots studied by several permutations of the Veterans Committee, and he missed election by a single vote on the first Expansion Era ballot three years ago. He died last year. Steinbrenner, Martin, Concepcion, Garvey, John and Simmons were also on the previous Expansion Era ballot.

But the selection of the three managers provided an epic highlight. Monday’s announcement assured that the 2014 induction weekend will be one of the most widely attended and covered ever.

Torre and Cox had each attended one recent induction each, while La Russa has never been to one.

“You realize you want to offer thanks to the people who made it possible,” said La Russa, whose managing career began with the White Sox under owner Jerry Reinsdorf and is now a consultant to Major League Baseball on on-field issues. “You want to thank the family. There have been a lot sacrifices by my wife and daughter. You go to the park early and you stay late. And finally, you realize who is sitting behind you. I can categorically state I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable as a member of that club.”

“I can’t tell you how I’m going to feel,” said Torre, who also managed the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers and is currently MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “All I know, and Tony just said it, when you see who else is there, players who have obviously been inducted before you and come up every year. It’s obviously special to them. I’ve admired these players even though I might have played or managed against some of them. So I don’t know how I’m going to feel, but I can tell you it will be a feeling I’ve never had before.”

Cox compiled a 2,504-2,001 (.556) record in his 29 seasons, which included four managing the Blue Jays. His Braves won the 1995 World Series while capturing five National League pennants during his 25 years with Atlanta. Cox led Atlanta to a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005.

La Russa had a 2,728-2,365 (.536) record in 33 seasons, winning the World Series with the A’s in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and ’11. He also guided Oakland to three American League pennants (1988-90) in 10 seasons and the Cards to three NL pennants (2004, ’06 and ’11) in 16 years. La Russa also spent eight seasons managing the White Sox, taking them to the AL Championship Series in 1983.

Following an 18-year playing career in which he had a .297 batting average and one batting title, Torre posted a 2,326-1,997 record, good for a .538 winning percentage. Torre led the Yankees to Series titles in 1996, ’98, ’99 and 2000 (in addition to 100-win seasons in 1998 and from 2002-04), and six AL pennants. He spent his first 14 seasons a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, and finished his career managing the Dodgers in 2010. Torre took his teams in New York and Los Angeles into the playoffs every year from 1996-2009.

The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot consisted of Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Niekro, and Frank Robinson; Major League executives Paul Beeston of the Blue Jays, Dave Montgomery of the Phillies, Reinsdorf and Andy MacPhail, formerly of the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. They were joined by historians Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau, Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA, and Jim Reeves, recently retired from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“It’s a great day for baseball,” said Robinson, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball development. “They are three outstanding, quality guys.”

“It was amazing in our discussion,” Reinsdorf said. “Everyone said you could throw a blanket over them. It was almost like one. They’re so similar.”

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful class,” said John Schuerholz, the Braves’ club president who was general manager beginning in 1990, when Cox returned to the Atlanta bench for the remainder of his career. “I have a wonderful partner and dear friend elected to the Hall of Fame in Bobby Cox and two friends in Tony and Joe, who are on the instant-replay committee with me, so I’ve gotten to know them a lot better through that. I’m delighted for all of them.”

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.

 

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Baseball’s Winter Meetings – December 5, 2010

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Baseball’s Winter Meetings – December 5, 2010

Baseball’s winter meetings
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 5

Because of some bad information, I arrived about six hours too early. No harm I guess. Saw tons of baseball people simply walking around the Disney hotels. Peter Gammons, Jim Fregosi, Clint Hurdle, Terry Francona, Carney Lansford, Tim Kurkjian, Ken Rosenthal, Tracy Ringolsby, Richie Garcia, Chuck Greenberg, Quinton McCracken, A.J. Pierzynski, Al Kaline, Jim Leyland, Dave Dombrowski, Brian McRae and a bunch of others I can’t think of right now. I actually got a picture with Frank Robinson, but of course he wouldn’t even consider signing. Only player on the veterans committee I saw was Robinson, the only player on the veterans committee I saw. Really wanted to wait for Nolan Ryan but had to leave at 6 p.m. so I could make it to work in the morning.

Greg Maddux: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…..walked into the hotel and of the five graphers sitting in the lobby I was the only one who recognized him. I’ve never seen a better Maddux graph. He did three and would’ve done a lot more but some handler cut him off.
Peter Gammons: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…debated whether he was even worth a ball….FOR SALE OR TRADE
Tony LaRussa: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…had his hands full and made me hold the ball. FOR SALE OR TRADE
Frank Robinson: didn’t even ask because I know better but I got a picwith…..As he was taking the pic he asked what it was for and I said ‘my collection.’ I guess he didn’t believe me because as the picture was being taken he actually shouted ‘ebay.’ LOL. i’m sure there’s someone out there who will pay for a picture of ugly me with Frank Robinson. Of course, not a single grapher there knew how to work a camera, thus my head being cut off

And I almost forgot….I stopped to visit the wife of Jack Armstrong, who used to pitch for both the Marlins and Reds, on the way home. She’s a friend of a friend. I met her briefly and she gave me all of the items that I had asked her husband to sign.

Jack Armstrong: 5/5

Did You Know…

The World Series champion with the poorest regular season record was the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished just 83-78.

Cardinals

**factoid courtesy of ‘Armchair Reader – Grand Slam Baseball’

My take – I just thought it was time for a little World Series factoid as we prepare for the ‘Fall Classic’!!  And while this fact is interesting, it is also meaningless.  The Cardinals roared through the 2006 playoffs and played better than any team that they faced.

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

18 Autograph TTM Requests Have Been Shipped – Spring Training Style!!!

 That’s right I said 18.  18 envelops are in the mail and they’re going to Spring Training!!!  I have selected 18 more players to seek autographs from.  A select few are of current players but the remainder are of veterans that have now become coaches.

I’ve read often enough that Spring Training is a great time to start going for autographs so I am going to test that theory.  This will not be the only bunch to hit the mail stream this month but I can guarantee that most of these envelopes will be to the stadium prior to the players and coaches getting there.

The guys – Ken Oberkfell, Tony LaRussa, Ozzie Guillen, Hal McRae, Terry Pendleton, Matt Williams, Alan Trammell, Juan Samuel, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Gerald Perry, Tony Pena, Jose Oquendo, Fred McGriff, Roy Halladay, Joe Girardi, Mariano Duncan, and Will Clark.

Wish me luck!!! 

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