From BR Bullpen
Anthony LaRussa Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.
 Biographical Information
Tony LaRussa is one of the winningest managers in the history of baseball. His major league career as a player is not much remembered. He broke into the majors at the age of 18, and appeared in six major league seasons over the space of 10 years, hitting .199 lifetime.
LaRussa grew up in Tampa, FL, near to where Al Lopez lived. He was friends with Lou Piniella. He was in the Colt League World Series as a teenager. Toward the end of his major league playing career, he became impressed with Dick Williams' approach to managing. He became a player-coach for number of years in the minors, and then a minor league manager at Knoxville in 1978. Source: From a 2006 article in Coach and Athletic Director.
LaRussa also managed the Iowa Oaks in 1979 until August 2nd, when he got his first opportunity to manage in the majors, taking over for player-manager Don Kessinger at the helm of the Chicago White Sox.
LaRussa managed in the big leagues every year from 1979 to 2011. In June 1986, he was fired by the White Sox when their GM was Hawk Harrelson, but he was named manager of the Oakland Athletics the following month. He was hired by the Cardinals before the 1996 season. In his sixteen years with the Cardinals, they have been in the playoffs nine times, and won the National League pennant in 2004, 2006 and 2011, being World Series champions in 2006 and again in 2011.
On August 25, 2004, LaRussa won his 2195th game and passed Sparky Anderson to move into third place on the all-time wins list behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. LaRussa moved into third-place all-time in MLB games managed on August 20, 2007, passing Bucky Harris. Heading into 2007, his teams had been MLB's winningest team in the regular season six different times, and he had only had seven losing seasons in his 26 complete seasons as skipper.
On March 22, 2007, Tony was arrested for drunk driving in Jupiter, FL, when he was found asleep at the wheel of his SUV at a stop light. LaRussa had his foot on the brake and the vehicle was in drive. His blood alcohol content was 0.093 percent. LaRussa apologized and said he took full responsibility.
In 2009, LaRussa became the third manager to 2,500 wins in the majors, behind Mack and McGraw. In 2011, he became the majors leagues' dean of managers, following the retirement of Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, neither of whom had managed continuously since starting out a year before LaRussa, in 1978. In May of that year, he missed a few games because of shingles, a skin ailment. Coach Joe Pettini filled in for him during the interim. On June 10th that year, he managed his 5,000th game in the majors. Only Mack had done so before, though he was still well ahead of La Russa at that point (7,755 games).
After achieving perhaps his greatest triumph, leading the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series title after they were 10 1/2 games back in late August, he announced his retirement. He was only 35 games behind McGraw on the all-time list for games won. Left open at the time was the question of whether he would manage the National League team in the 2012 All-Star Game, or would be replaced by the Milwaukee Brewers' Ron Roenicke. On January 24, 2012, Commissioner Bud Selig, confirmed that LaRussa would be given the opportunity to manage the NL squad, citing the precedent established in the first All-Star Game in 1933, when John McGraw came out of retirement to manage the National League team. On May 11, 2012, the Cardinals retire his uniform number 10.
LaRussa's name was back in the news in mid-march of 2012 when it was rumored that he would be offered a senior executive position by billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen if his bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from the bankrupt Frank McCourt was successful. Cohen was considered the front-runner in the competitive process, but had been criticized for not having many prominent baseball figures - aside from player agent Arn Tellem - on his team. In the end, Cohen's bid fell well short of that made by the group led by Mark Walter and Magic Johnson.
Away from the diamond, LaRussa is also an attorney. He graduated from Florida State's law school in 1978, and passed the bar exam the next year. LaRussa's biography at mlb.com claims that each of LaRussa's four predecessor lawyer-managers at the major league level are in the Hall of Fame. This is not true, though, as Judge Fuchs is not in the Hall.
"If you think about it seriously, there is no way that you can apply Moneyball-type analysis to people that are involved in a competition against other people. The basis of Moneyball is very important [...] But [...] the individuals that are competing literally change from day to day [...] they sometimes change within the game itself." - Tony LaRussa
 LaRussa's Managerial Record
- Chicago White Sox: 1979-1986 (Part of eight seasons, all of six seasons: 1980-1985)
- Overall: 522-510 (.506)
- Oakland Athletics: 1986-1995 (Part of ten seasons, all of nine seasons: 1987-1995)
- Overall: 798-673 (.542)
- Playoff results:
- Playoff results:
- Playoff notes:
- The 1989 series is notable for having been disrupted by an earthquake in the San Francisco area. Both Oakland and San Francisco were affected.
- The 1988-1990 Oakland teams LaRussa managed combined for a 306-180 record (.630). This is the best three year stretch of LaRussa's career. His second best stretch is his 2003-2005 Cardinals teams which went 290-196 (.597) - sixteen games worse than 1988-90.
- Playoff notes:
- St. Louis Cardinals: 1996-2011 (Sixteen full seasons)
- Overall: 1408-1182 (.544) (through 2011)
- Playoff results:
- Playoff results:
- Playoff totals:
- White Sox:
- ALCS: 0-1 (games: 1-3)
- ALCS: 3-1 (games: 14-5)
- World Series: 1-2 (games: 5-8)
- NLDS: 7-2 (games: 23-10)
- NLCS: 3-4 (games: 19-24)
- World Series: 2-1 (games: 8-8)
- ALDS/NLDS: 7-2 (games: 23-10)
- ALCS/NLCS: 6-6 (games: 34-32)
- World Series: 3-3 (games: 13-16)
- Overall: 15-11 (games: 66-55)
 Notable Achievements
- 4-time Manager of the Year Award (1983/AL, 1988/AL, 1992/AL & 2002/NL)
- Division Titles: 12 (1983, 1988-1990, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004-2006 & 2009)
- Other Postseason Appearances: 2 (2001 & 2011 Wild Card)
- AL Pennants: 3 (1988-1990)
- NL Pennants: 3 (2004, 2006 & 2011)
- Managed three World Series Champions with the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011
- 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 4 (1988, 1990, 2004 & 2005)
|Chicago White Sox Manager
|Oakland Athletics Manager
|St. Louis Cardinals Manager
 Year-By-Year Managerial Record
 Further Reading
- Buzz Bissinger: Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 2005.
- Tony LaRussa and Rick Hummel: One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-0062207388
- Rob Rains: Tony LaRussa: Man on a Mission, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2009.
- George F. Will: Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, Macmillan, New York, 1990.