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Tony LaRussa

Tony LaRussa

Position(s):
2B, SS, 3B
Born:
October 4, 1944
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6'
Weight:
175 lbs
Major League Debut:
5-10-1963 with KC1
Allstar Selections:
1983 Mgr, 1988 Mgr, 1992 Mgr, 2002 Mgr

Intro

After a forgettable six-year major league career as an infielder, Tony LaRussa got his law degree and pursued a managerial career. In his first big league stint, he led the White Sox to baseball's best record and a division title in 1983. Hired by Oakland in 1986, he enjoyed a decade of success, guiding the A's to three consecutive pennants and a fourth division title. In 1989, he won the World Series behind a team built on power and pitching. In 1996, he took the Cardinals job and quickly transformed the team: leading them to a division title in his first season. In his first ten years in St. Louis, LaRussa made the playoffs six times and had just two lising seasons. But his teams lost in the NL Championship Series four times, in 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2005. In 2004, after winning 105 games in the regular season, the Cards advanced to the World Series, only to be swept by the Red Sox. LaRussa's handling of the bullpen, which often includes waving in pitchers in to face one batter, chnaged the way baseball was played in the late 1980s and 1990s, but it has also drawn criticism. He has favored good defense up the middle and power-hitting in the middle of his lineup. His talented pitching coach, Dave Duncan, has served him for two decades. He won his 2,000th game in 2004, and won at least 500 games for three franchises.

Quotes About

"Italian handsome, hair as dark as the back of a chminey, prescription shades, stright out of casting, the sitcom TV lawyer who's saving homesteads for old ladies or getting drugged kids off the streets - that's your manager La Russa of the White Sox." — sportswriter Furman Bisher, 1980

Quotes From

"By the time I got to Atlanta I was a sore-armed infielder. I was having trouble even getting the ball from second to first, and they were beginning to catch on to me." — on the demise of his playing career

Replaced By

After being fired by the White Sox in the middle of the 1986 season, he was replaced by Doug Rader, and later Jim Fregosi. When he left Oakland he was replaced by Art Howe.

Best Season

His A's won 99 games and captured their second straight pennant. Built around starting pitching, power, and the bullpen, the A's beat the Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS and clobbered the Giants in the World Series in a four-game sweep that was interrupted by an earthquake in the Bay area.

Factoid 1

Through 2005, in his 24 full seasons as a manager, Tony LaRussa's teams had won 90 games ten times.

Factoid 2

Tony LaRussa was the first manager to earn the Manager of the Year Award four times.

Transition

June 6, 1962: Signed by the Kansas City Athletics as an amateur free agent. August 14, 1971: Purchased by the Atlanta Braves from the Oakland Athletics. October 20, 1972: Traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Chicago Cubs for Tom Phoebus. Before 1974 Season: Purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Chicago Cubs. April 4, 1975: Released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. April 7, 1975: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox. December 15, 1976: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the St. Louis Cardinals for Randy Wiles. September 29, 1977: Released by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Strengths

In-game managing.

Weaknesses

Overuse of his bullpen.

Most Times Ejected, Manager, All-Time

1. John McGraw... 131 2. Leo Durocher... 124 3. Bobby Cox... 117 4. Earl Weaver... 98 5. Frankie Frisch... 86 6. Paul Richards... 80 7. Tony LaRussa... 73 8. Lou Piniella...71 9. Clark Griffith... 67 10. Bill Dahlen... 65 11. Joe Torre... 64 Source: Doug Pappas and SABR

Notes

Earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University.

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Tagged:
1988 World Series, 1989 World Series, 1990 World Series, 2004 World Series, 2006 World Series, Chicago White Sox, Connie Mack, John McGraw, MLB Current, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Tony LaRussa

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