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Hall of Fame Manager Tony La Russa Makes Stop in Salem

St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony La Russa during a 2010 game at Nationals Park in D.C. taken by then Nationals dugout photographer Bill Turner.

It was a Hall of Fame evening on Tuesday at the Salem Red Sox’s Haley Toyota Field.

Former major league player and Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa was on hand talking baseball and conducting a meet-and-greet with fans who formed long lines to get a quick word or autograph.

The Roanoke Star was also granted one of four media one-on-one interviews with La Russa during the exclusive event.

La Russa began his managerial career in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox where he stayed for 8 years. That was followed by a 10 year stint with the Oakland A’s and 16 year run with the St. Louis Cardinals. During his career as a manager his teams won 3 World Series titles, 2 with St. Louis in 2006 and 2011, and one in Oakland in 1989.

La Russa, now 73, won 2,728 games as a major league manager, third on the all-time list behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763).

La Russa is now the Vice President and Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations, in which he will assist with player development and serve as a consultant to the major and minor league coaching staffs.

La Russa reflected on his longevity as a major league skipper to me Tuesday evening.

“It’s a 100% certainty that there’s never been a manager as fortunate as me,” La Russa noted. “The St. Louis Cardinal’s front office was behind me and supported my decisions every step of the way.”

“It’s become an entirely different environment today. People think a manager is not effective or not any good, and he gets released. It’s become the public’s perception of a manager that goes back to the front office.”

La Russa’s career wins record looks safe for the near future. The three closest active major league managers are San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy, who trails by over 800 wins. the L.A. Angels Mike Scioscia, over 1,100 behind, and Baltimore’s Buck Showalter, trailing by over 1,200 wins.

Bill Turner

 

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