Tony La Russa on his retirement: "It's just time to do something else."
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Tony La Russa on his retirement: "It's just time to do something else."

Story highlights

"He's truly irreplaceable," Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says

"I was encouraged that some grown men cried," La Russa says about the reaction of the team

"It's just time to do something else," he tells reporters

La Russa bows out after 33 seasons as manager in professional baseball

CNN —  

Tony La Russa, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, announced Monday he is retiring after 33 seasons as a manager in professional baseball. The Cardinals capped an improbable comeback last week by defeating the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.

“It’s just time to do something else,” he told reporters at Busch Stadium. “I know if I came back, I’d come back for the wrong reasons, and I couldn’t do that.”

La Russa, 67, ranks third in baseball history in managerial victories with 2,728, behind Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). He is 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.

After 16 years as manager of the Cardinals, he broke the news to the team Sunday night in the weight room. “I was encouraged that some grown men cried,” he said. “I kinda liked that because they made me cry a few times.”

He said he was open to doing a number of things, including starting a business, perhaps opening a bookstore. But, he added, “I don’t know anything but baseball,” and he might also consider buying a minor league club.

La Russa said he told his bosses about his plans in August, when the team was far behind.

General Manager John Mozeliak said that, as things improved, he asked La Russa whether he was sure he wanted to step down, but he did. “He’s ready for a new chapter in his life,” Mozeliak said, adding that the team would begin the search to find a replacement Monday afternoon.

That will not be easy, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday in a statement. “He’s truly irreplaceable,” Nixon said. “On behalf of the people of Missouri, I thank Tony La Russa for everything he gave Missouri – both on and off the field.”