Tony La Russa walked away from baseball yesterday, retiring on his own terms just days after managing the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title.
“I think this just feels like it’s time to end it,” the 67-year-old told reporters at a news conference.
La Russa, who said he made the decision to retire two months ago, spent 33 years as a big league manger, totaling 2,728 wins. That’s the third-most all time?(behind Hall of Famers Connie Mack and John McGraw), and the most by a skipper who didn’t start his career in the 19th century.
But he’s perhaps best known for changing the way managers use their bullpens. He helped establish the role of a closer, and was among the first — and certainly the most frequent — users of right- and left-handed specialists.
La Russa played for the A’s, Braves and Cubs in the 1960s and ’70s, and started his managerial career with the White Sox in 1979.
He stayed in Chicago until 1986, before moving to Oakland for nine years. He won the 1989 World Series there.
La Russa came to St. Louis in 1996, and guided the Cardinals to world titles in 2006 and this year.
He’s a four-time Manager of the Year.
It was an active day around Major League Baseball.
The Braves traded former Red Sox RHP Derek Lowe to the Indians for Class-A LHP Chris Jones.
Lowe, who’s scheduled to make $15 million in 2012, had a 5.05 ERA this year.
The Red Sox declined 2012 options on RHPs Scott Atchison and Dan Wheeler, making them free agents.
The Cubs exercised their $16 million option on Aramis Ramirez, but the 3B used his contractural right to void the deal. He forfeits his $2 million buyout, but enters a potentially lucrative FA market.