Monday, October 31, 2011
Tony La Russa retires, goes out on top
Tony La Russa announced his retirement just days after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series championship. It's his third World Series title, making him the only individual in major league history to win a World Series in his final season as a manager (according to Elias).
With a career record of 2,728-2,365, La Russa is the third-winningest manager of all time. Only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) won more games, and La Russa’s 5,097 games managed are second only to Mack (7,755).
One of nine managers with three World Series titles, only five managers in history have more titles than La Russa. Of the other eight, only Joe Torre is not currently in the Hall of Fame. La Russa managed in 14 postseasons, third most all-time behind Bobby Cox (16) and Joe Torre (15).
La Russa is one of two managers to win a World Series title in both the American League and National League (Sparky Anderson), and one of only four to win with multiple teams.
La Russa and Leo Durocher are the only managers in major league history to have 500 or more wins with three different teams.
La Russa got the Cardinals into the postseason on the final day of the regular season with a 90-72 record. It's not the first time he's taken a team to the World Series that didn't have an impressive regular season. In 2006, the Cardinals were 83-78 and won it all.
In the wild-card era (since 1995), those two teams have the worst and third-worst regular-season win percentage of any team that went on to win the World Series.
La Russa made the postseason 14 times. The average regular-season winning percentage of his three championship teams was lower than those of his teams that came up short, regardless of which round they were eliminated in.
The largest deficit the Cardinals faced this season was a 10½-game deficit in the wild-card race.
Elias tells us they are the eighth team in major league history to overcome a double-digit deficit in the standings to win a World Series.
La Russa is one of just three managers all-time to win three Game 7s (Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel) and at 3-1, he's got the best win percentage in MLB history among managers with at least three Game 7s managed.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, La Russa is the third manager in major league history -- and the first in 81 years -- to win a World Series in his 16th season or later with a particular team.
The others were John McGraw, who did so in his 20th and 21st seasons with the Giants (1921 and 1922) and Connie Mack, in his 29th and 30th seasons with the Athletics (1929 and 1930).