On the heels of their 11th World Series title, the St. Louis Cardinals announced on Monday that manager Tony La Russa has retired after 33 seasons as a big league manager and will not return for a 17th season with the team.
The 67-year-old skipper goes out as the third winningest manager in major league history with 2,728 victories for the White Sox (1979-1986), Athletics (1986-1995) and Cardinals (1996-present). Only Connie Mack has managed more games than the 5,097 La Russa has skippered.
"There isn't one (factor) that dominates (my decision)," La Russa said. "They all just come together telling you your time is over. We went through the season and I felt that this just feels like it's time to end it and I think it's going to be great for the Cardinals to refresh what's going on here."
A four-time Manager of the Year, La Russa has guided his clubs to 12 division titles and three World Series championships, as well as three other pennants. In addition to his two world titles with the Cardinals, La Russa also led Oakland to a championship in 1989 and is one of only two men to manage a World Series winner in both leagues. Sparky Anderson also won with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers.
With 1,408 wins at the helm of the Cardinals, La Russa is the winningest manager in team history and is coming off perhaps his best job with the team. St. Louis found itself 10 1/2 games out of a playoff spot in late August only to go 23-8 down the stretch and secured the wild card spot on the final day of the regular season. The Cards then took out the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies in a decisive fifth game of the NLCS before beating the Milwaukee Brewers in six games in the NLCS.
The Cardinals then pulled out a thrilling win in the Fall Classic, beating the Texas Rangers in seven games after twice being down to their last strike in a memorable Game 6 win.