In what was widely expected to be a 9AM presser to announce a contract extension, Tony LaRussa has instead announced he is retiring after 16 seasons and 3 World Series victories with the St. Louis Cardinals. While this is clearly a surprise to the baseball world, Larussa certainly leaves at the top of the game:
La Russa, 67, steps down with 2,728 managerial victories, ranking behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). Only Mack has managed in more ballgames. The Cardinals skipper is also the only manager in Major League Baseball history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second to win a World Series title in each, as well.
He couldn't have scripted a better ending; leaving the game just three days after one of the more memorable runs in World Series history seems a preferable way to go (rather than quietly fading away, or worse, fizzling out).
This is huge news for the Cards and we should take the appropriate time to appreciate a storybook ending to a fine career, but tons of questions immediately pop up now that TLR is done -- not the least of which is, "does this make Pujols more or less likely to stay?" followed by "who could possibly take Larussa's place?"