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LaRussa

[ 24 ] October 31, 2011 |

If you are going to retire, might as well do it on top.

One of the greatest managers in baseball history. I would say that I care that he is a Teabagger, but almost all professional athletes are right-wing jerks. LaRussa just talks about it.

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  1. Colin says:

    “Almost all professional athletes are right-wing jerks. LaRussa just talks about it.”

    And that’s why it was particularly insufferable from him. That said, one of the greatest managers ever, no question, and it will be weird to have him not managing in the MLB for the first time in my entire life.

    [Almost completely-unrelated aside: As hitting coach, doesn't Mark McGwire now get another World Series ring? I can't possibly imagine why the media has overlooked this story.]

    • Colin says:

      Also, it will be curious to see if/how this affects the Pujols free agency decision.

      Also also, I somehow had completely forgotten that LaRussa batted below the Mendoza line as a professional player.

  2. c u n d gulag says:

    I can’t stand the arrogant Teabagging SOB asshole, but if you can, why not go out on top?

    It’s not like, even if Pujols stays, there’s a young core to build a dynastic team around, like he had in Oakland, or the Yankees had in ’96.

    I take a look at the Cards, and wonder how he was able to win a WS with a team like that.

    And MLB wants to add ANOTHER layer of playoff games?
    Really?
    Even if it’s only 1 game?
    When was the last time the teams with the two best records met in the WS? I think it was in 1999.
    Party on THAT!

  3. actor212 says:

    It’s going to be hard to think about LaRussa in the past tense, just as its hard to think about Piniella in the past tense.

  4. Davis says:

    Luke Scott is worse: a born-again right winger. Plus, he can’t field.

  5. Ed says:

    It’s graceful timing, if La Russa means it, and it sounds as if he’s pretty sure. He could easily hang around a few more years and tot up some more stats for the record books. Also gets brownie points as a loyal supporter of the beleaguered Oakland Ballet.

    He may not be politically in tune with this board, but bear in mind he just denied Dubya another World Series.

  6. wengler says:

    I will always remember his last pitching change.

    He left before he could implement the 8 man pitching rotation.

  7. Captain Howdy says:

    To his credit, LaRussa supported the law to close down puppy mills in MO (contrary to local Tea Party arseholes). Even he could see that kicking puppies wasn’t a wining message.

    But he’s not as great a manager as you think he is, er was. Put an asterisk next to WS achievements, since they wouldn’t have been possible without the juiced-up freaks on his teams and/or the Wild Card system.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      1)Steroids were part of the game during that era.
      2)Only one of his World Series appearances was as a Wild Card, and even then so what? It’s a lot harder to win a World Series than it was in the 1950s when it required winning one series.

      One of the top 5 of all time, I think, no question. Other than McCarthy, I don’t know who would clearly rank ahead of him.

      • Whitey Herzog, Earl Weaver, Casey Stengel. Sparkey belongs in the discussion. So does Bobby Cox. TLR belongs on the list, but where on the list deserves some contemplation.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Stengel and Weaver for sure. Cox too, although I think LaRussa almost matches his brilliance with pitchers and I’d rather have TLR putting together the offense. Herzog is tricky, was very effective but only in a particular context. Sparky, I’m not sure. He was very good and he was terrific in Cincinnati, but it took an awful tong time for the Tigers to get over the hump given the amount of talent they had, and later in his career he got really cranky about young players. Given the talent he had to work with, I think LaRussa’s record is more impressive. Anyway, this should probably be a post…

          • actor212 says:

            There was some guy…can’t recall his name but his initials were Joe Torre. Might have a claim to this.

          • I think what makes LaRussa stand out is that he was not bound by orthodoxy, his political beliefs notwithstanding. I’m probably balking because I’m tired of hearing how a frickin’ law degree from Central Florida makes him a genius, and because of his politics. I have no idea how Leo Durocher voted, and I like it that way.

      • Captain Howdy says:

        Steroids were part of the game during that era.

        Bull. Some players were juiced. LaRussa happened to have the most egregious cheaters. Doesn’t make him a great manager; it makes him complicit in cheating.

        Scioscia is the better manager. Lesser players, better winning pct. All he needs is longevity. You were right to say he wasn’t in the same class as LaRussa. He’s better.

        (But really: isn’t it a bit idiotic to compare managers? Cripes.)

    • LKS says:

      IIRC, TLR has been a long-time vegetarian and animal rights supporter. It should be noted, however, that a lot of animal rights advocates are otherwise conservative middle- and upper-class whites.

  8. bobbyp says:

    Scott,

    I’m not a baseball fanatic, but I always had the impression that Joe McCarthy did just about as good as can be expected with the constant stream of the greatest players of his era as acquired fo him by the Yankee Owners.

    I’d like to hear more about this claim (and because I’m a McGraw fan). Thanks!

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Take a look at his work with the Cubs. McCarthy had a lot of talent to work with, for sure, but his record of developing hitters is pretty phenomenal.

  9. patrick II says:

    This blog has been talking about the greatest managers since WWII over the last week. Nobody ever mentions Whitey Herzog. I know his career wasn’t as long as some, but he was successful in two mid-market cities (Kansas City and St. Louis) and acted as general manager for the first part of his St.Louis run.
    So, living in St. Louis in the 80′s and 90′s, I just though I’d throw his name in the ring. Thanks to Whitey I saw my only game 7 in person, with Bruce Sutter closing out against the then American League Milwaukee Brewers.

  10. bobbyp says:

    Take a look at his work with the Cubs….

    You mean Hack Wilson’s famous retort to Joe’s water, whiskey, and worms demonstration?

    Whadda’ teacher! Thanks!

  11. gimmeliberty says:

    I get where La Russa got this reputation for being a right-wing tea bagger (Glenn Beck, Arizona law), but the reality is that he’s utterly consumed by baseball and gives every indication of thinking very little about politics at all. He’s hardly a conservative activist:

    When it comes to politics, La Russa declined to identify his affiliation, saying he goes “issue to issue.” He noted his father was a union man in the Teamsters.

    “Sometimes I’m over there,” he said. “Sometimes I’m over here.”

    He’s basically an independent, who probably decides to vote for a politician because “he seems like someone I’d want to have a beer with.” When he was asked about the Arizona law, he didn’t seem to really have any idea what it is or what the controversy was about. The only issue that he’s ever publicly campaigned for was a bill to shut down puppy mills in Missouri (a repugnant practice). We don’t absolutely HAVE to assign a political label to someone who has evinced very little interest in partisan politics, and then judge their moral caliber based on this nearly arbitrary assignation.

  12. Quercus says:

    So I don’t follow baseball that much; all I really know about LaRussa’s abilities is the managing decisions in the last three or so games of the last World Series. And frankly, many of those (especially game 5) were, well, I think ‘questionable’ is being generous.

    So is game 5 an aberration, or is this a case of ‘great at managing players (which is what mostly matters), not so great at tactical decisions’ ?

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