Tony La Russa
Tony La Russa : man on a mission
Rob Rains.
Chicago : Triumph Books, c2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Three nights in August : strategy, heartbreak, and joy inside the mind of a manager
Buzz Bissinger.
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning author captures baseballs strategic and emotional essences through a point-blank account of one three-game series viewed through the keen eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa. Drawing on unprecedented access to a manager and his team, Bissinger brings the same revelatory intimacy to major-league baseball that he did to high school football in his classic besteller, Friday Night Lights. Three Nights in August shows thrillingly that human nature -- not statistics -- can often dictate the outcome of a ballgame. We watch from the dugout as the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs for first place, and we uncover delicious surprises about the psychology of the clutch, the eccentricities of pitchers, the rise of video, and the complex art of retaliation when a batter is hit by a pitch. Through the lens of these games, Bissinger examines the dramatic changes that have overtaken baseball: from the decline of base stealing to the difficulty of motivating players to the rise of steroid use. More tellingly, he distills from these twenty-seven innings baseball's constants -- its tactical nuances, its emotional pull. During his twenty-six years of managing, La Russa won more games than any other current manager and ranks sixth all-time. He has been named Manager of the Year a record five times and is considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. For all his intellectual attainments, hes also an antidote to the number-crunching mentality that has become so modish in baseball. As this book proves, he's built his success on the conviction that ballgames are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play.
The man who talks to dogs : the story of America's wild street dogs and their unlikely savior
Melinda Roth ; preface by Tony La Russa ; foreword by Michael W. Fox.
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Go to any unpopulated or abandoned area in any given urban setting, and you'll find them. Thousands and thousands of wild dogs-abandoned to disease, starvation, and inevitable death-are leading short and brutal lives in the no-man's-land between domestication and wildness, byproducts of the human destitution around them. A lucky few are saved by dedicated rescuers, and Randy Grim, has emerged as one of the country's leading dog saviors. After years of rescuing dogs on his own, he founded Stray Rescue of St. Louis, an organization dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation. These are dogs that belong to no one, the ones animal-control experts can't catch and humane shelters won't deal with. They are stray or feral, either abandoned or born wild on the streets, which means they won't come near humans and statistically won't live past their second year. And their numbers are growing every day. In "The Man Who Talks to Dogs, journalist Melinda Roth narrates Grim's dramatic, inspiring efforts and tells the horrific and heartwarming stories of the dogs he saves, showing how this growing national health problem-controlled by no federal or local regulations-can no longer be ignored.

St. Louis sports teams have always attracted a lot of local attention, and the baseball Cardinals are no exception to that rule.  If anything, there is more attention these days.   Call-in radio talk shows have made anyone with a cell phone an instant expert, and everyone knows better than the people who are actually calling the shots.

On the baseball field, it’s the manager who’s in charge: deciding on the daily line-up, who will pitch and for how long, whether a batter should sacrifice or hit away.  In St. Louis, the manager is Tony La Russa, and his credentials are impressive.  He is starting his 16th season as Cardinals’ manager and no one has won more games in St. Louis.  La Russa has been named manager of the year in both the National and American Leagues; he has won a world championship in each league as well.

Tony La Russa's
Animal Rescue Foundation

Created in 1991 by Tony and his wife, Elaine, the organization gives aid for abandoned animals and promotes the concept that people and animals can enhance each others lives.


La Russa’s background is unusual but quite useful.  Of mixed ethnic background, he has been inducted into both the Italian-American and Hispanic baseball halls of fame.  He speaks fluent Spanish.  He has a law degree, although he famously “decided I’d rather ride the buses in the minor leagues than practice law for a living.”

What may be of most use to him is an unrivaled intensity.  He hates to lose, and arranges, by and large, not to.

In the history of the major leagues, there have been only seven managers who had earned a law degree.  Oddly enough, most of those seven managed at least briefly in St. Louis, and the majority of them ended up in the Hall of Fame.  Tony La Russa looks like a safe bet to extend both parts of that tradition.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff