30 Oct Getting to Know Tony Larussa – VP & Special Assistant to Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox
Name: Anthony La Russa, Jr.
Born: October 4, 1944 in Tampa Florida
Hall of Fame induction: July 27, 2014
Baseball History: Tony is the former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox and a former professional baseball player. He’s currently vice president and special assistant to Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox. His MLB career has spanned from 1963 to the present. In 33 years as a manager, La Russa guided his teams to three World Series titles, six league championships and twelve division titles. His 2,728 wins is third most for a major league manager, trailing only the totals of Connie Mack and John McGraw. As a player, La Russa made his major league debut in 1963 and spent parts of five major league seasons with the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. After a shoulder injury during the 1964–65 off-season, he played much of the remainder of his career in the minor leagues until retiring in 1977. Following his playing career, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University.
How much have you contributed to this years World Series Boston Red Sox championship team? I would say egotistically, I think a little less than 1 percent. Realistically a little bit above 0 percent. And I’m being realistic.
What do you think about Manager Alex Cora? Winning a World Series in your first season as manager can be stressful but that’s the most impressive thing about him. His background and experiences as a player is very impressive but most importantly he played in Boston. Expectations and pressure are not new to him. The crowd and the expectations could be tough to a normal manager, but he’s not normal.
How do you compare the regular season with the post season? The regular season is a marathon because you’ve got significant longer-term challenges, your ups and downs, dealing with injuries, and then it’s a totally separate thing when you get to October. You play short series and the proven reality is if you’re good enough after the one-game playoff, the eight teams that get in, any of those teams are good enough to be the champion.That’s the most exciting part of the playoffs. If you’re the No. 1 seed and you’ve earned it you have a few extra edges. The postseason is so urgent there are some positive frames of minds that you need to emphasize. You have to get your mind right.
How are this years Boston Red Sox and your Cardinals teams of the early 2000s and your Oakland teams of the late 1980s similar? What’s in common with all three is the commitment they’ve made to the whole game. The attention to defense at every position, running the bases properly and taking productive at-bats.
What can you tell us about your good friend New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick? He’s got a great personality. He’s a coach, so in press conferences, you have to be careful with what you say, so it doesn’t end up on the blackboard. But he’s intelligent, he’s smart, and he’s got a great sense of humor. The other thing I love about him, that was really impressive, is that his ego is totally in check. When he’s around anybody, he’s always asking them questions and wants to know about them. He doesn’t want to talk about himself.