St. Louis Cardinals / Tony La Russa
9:32 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announces retirement

Updated 1:18 p.m.

Manager Tony La Russa will not be coming back to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The team announced Monday that La Russa has decided to retire after a 33-year managing career, 16 of which were with the Cardinals.

La Russa says he made the decision to retire back in June, and told general manager John Mozeliak and owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. in August. Players and coaches found out Sunday night after the parade and rally celebrating their 11th World Series championship.

Even as the team made a thrilling late-season and playoff run, La Russa said he never wavered.

"It's just time to do something else," La Russa said. "And I know it, and I don't … You [got to] look in the mirror, and I know if that I came back I would be coming back for the wrong reasons and I couldn't do that."

La Russa says he is a bit nervous about the unknown, but says he might own a minor league team or open a bookstore.

La Russa's relationship with fans in St. Louis was a complicated one. He told reporters that he had no idea how many would cheer and how many would be upset by the announcement - though he hoped more would be upset.

"I have no regrets about looking at them and saying, 'I did the best I could and the numbers are what they are,'" La Russa said. "Could a better manager have won more games? Yeah. He's better and he could have won more, but they got my best shot."

La Russa has the most wins as a manager in Cardinals history, and is third on the all-time baseball wins list, behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.

General manager Mozeliak says he was surprised when La Russa told him in August that he would retire at the end of the season.

"When I think back to my time with him, he's been a leader, a mentor and a friend," Mozeliak said. "And when you have somebody step away from your life that incorporates all of that, it's never a great feeling."

Mozeliak says the team has begun its due diligence in looking for a new manager, and that he isn't ruling anyone out, including managers that have already signed with other teams.

 

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