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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 10/31/2011

Tony La Russa steps down as manager of St. Louis Cardinals


After a World Series victory celebration Sunday evening in St. Louis, Tony La Russa told players and team chairman Bill DeWitt that he was stepping down. (Jeff Roberson / AP)
After winning the third World Series of his 33-year managerial career, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa is stepping down.

“There isn't one [factor] that dominates [my decision],” La Russa said at a news conference in St. Louis. “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. I'm looking forward to what's ahead. I'm ready to do something different.”

La Russa, 67, managed the Cardinals to their second title in three World Series appearances in his 16-year tenure in St. Louis on Friday. He said today that he made up his mind to step down in August and told General Manager John Mozeliak then of his decision. On Aug. 24, the Cardinals, 10 1/2 games back in the wild-card race, began a climb in which they clinched a playoff berth on the last day of the regular season.


La Russa in the Cards’ parade Sunday. (Jeff Roberson / AP)
La Russa also managed the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A’s. His teams won 11 division titles, six pennants (three each with Oakland and St. Louis) and two wild cards. His Oakland team won the Series in 1989; his Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. He has 70 postseason victories, second only to Joe Torre. He has won 2,728 regular-season games, third behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.

“Tony leaves behind a legacy of success that will always berememered as one of the most successful eras in Cardinals history,” Bill DeWitt Jr., Cardinals chairman, said. “I knew this day would come. I just hoped that it wouldn't.”

La Russa’s decision was announced the day after the team celebrated the 11th World Series title in its history with a parade in downtown St. Louis. La Russa said he told DeWitt and Cardinals players of his decision Sunday night. The decision doesn’t come completely out of the blue: he’s following in the footsteps of two of his best friends, Bill Parcells and Bobby Knight.

By  |  10:38 AM ET, 10/31/2011

 
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