It is very rare in life that one retires on a high note. This feat is even more rare in the sports world.
Before Tony LaRussa retired today, the last sports figure to go out on such high a note was Jerome Bettis after the Steelers won the Super Bowl. LaRussa was well known around the league as one who made his tactical moves as a manager based on matchups that he had previously analyzed. He was often praised for his strategic style, but he was also very often criticized when the favored matchup didn’t go his way.But whether you agree or disagree with his style of play, he is one of the best managers to have ever graced the major leagues.
Just to put his managerial career into perspective, here are some interesting stats to kick around: Tony won 500 games as a manager with three different teams (the Cardinals, A’s and White Sox. Leo Durocher is the only other manager to accomplish such a feat. He has the third highest win total of any manager every in baseball, trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw. LaRussa is also one of only four managers in history to win a World Series with two different teams. In a more modern-day perspective on how good of a manager Tony LaRussa was, think about this: he has been to the playoffs more times than Dusty Baker, Terry Francona, and Buck Showalter combined. In addition, he has won more games than when Jack McKeon and Jim Leyland’s managerial careers are put together.
In the end, Tony LaRussa has put together a 33-year managing career that will not be forgotten anytime soon. For he has done something in sports that is as rare as it snowing in Florida: he has left the game he loves on top.
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