After leading the St. Louis Cardinals to their eleventh world championship, yesterday morning Tony LaRussa announced his retirement. Although not always a fan favorite, LaRussa is the winningest manager in Cardinal history, having led the team to three World Series and two titles.
Some thought LaRussa would return for the 2012 season, possibly to overtake the next manager on the all-time wins list. That apparently wasn't enough to keep LaRussa in Cardinal uniform. Instead, leaving on top makes Tony LaRussa the first manager in baseball history to retire after winning a World Series.
Some of his peers are suggesting that LaRussa is perhaps the best baseball manager of all time. Maybe, maybe not, but he's definitely among the top three or four. Let that question stand as one of those perpetual baseball debates.
LaRussa has a big heart. His love of animals probably exceeds his love of baseball. Does he have a star on the U City Loop Walk of Fame? I don't know if he does, but it won't be long before he gets his due in the baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
So how to commemorate the career of Tony LaRussa in St. Louis? Will the Cardinals retire his number? Will they erect a bronze statue in his likeness with the other Cardinal Hall of Famers in front of Busch? Here's a suggestion for a way to honor two birds in one bronze.
Erect a status of Tony Larussa in his Cardinal uniform (being a lover of animals, LaRussa always says how he believes the Cardinals uniform, prominently displaying the birds on the bat, is the best uniform in all of baseball). Then, standing beside LaRussa, add a likeness of the unofficial 2011 mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals: the Rally Squirrel. I think LaRussa would like it that way.