With his Championship win at the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa goes down in history as one of Major League Baseball’s greatest managers. In total, he led his teams to six league championships and three World Series titles, while ranking third in all-time major league wins.
As a player, La Russa made his major league debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. After a shoulder injury the following off-season, he spent most of his career in the minor leagues. His final big-league appearance came in 1973 with the Cubs, however he continued to play in the minor leagues until 1977. Following the end of his playing career, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University College of Law.
La Russa made his managerial debut in 1978 with the Knoxville Sox of the Southern League. By 1979, he was managing the Chicago White Sox and was named the 1983 Manager of the Year; the first of four such awards ('83, '88, '92, '02). He left the Chicago White Sox in 1986 and successful seasons followed with the Oakland Athletics (1986 – 1995) and finally the St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011).
La Russa has received many accolades throughout his successful career. He is one of only four managers to be named Manager of the Year in both of baseball's major leagues, in 2010 he became the longest tenured manager in Major League Baseball, and he is currently the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals history.
In 2012, La Russa released his book One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season .
La Russa was unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in December 2013, and will be inducted on July 27th, 2014.
An animal lover, La Russa and his wife Elaine are the founders of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, which saves abandoned and injured animals and arranges animal visits to hospitals, senior centers and disadvantaged children.
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Tony La Russa was smart, funny, informative and received great reviews from our audience. He spent a great deal of time in prep and in speaking with colleagues and customers. He was terrific.
-- Beckers Hospital Review