If the Cardinals haven’t gotten around to having a TLR sunglasses giveaway yet, now they’ve got two more years to work on it.
ST. LOUIS — Tony La Russa, the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history, today agreed to a new two-year (2008-09) contract with the ballclub. The announcement was made by Cardinals’ Chairman William O. DeWitt at a press conference this afternoon.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with Tony’s decision to remain a Cardinal,” stated DeWitt. “During his 12 seasons as our manager, he has been a terrific leader; one who is skilled at keeping the team’s performance and focus aimed at being a consistent playoff contender.”
La Russa, 63, has guided the Cardinals to a franchise record 1,055 wins since joining the team as its manager in 1996. He has led the Cardinals to seven division titles (1996, 2000-02 & 2004-06), two National League pennants (2004 & 2006) and a 10th World Championship title in 2006.
“At the end of the season, after we had worked so hard, I needed some time to get away and refresh,” said La Russa. “I had time to think about the many relationships with the Cardinals that have been built over the past 12 seasons.
Then you see how our division keeps improving, and it became clear to me that all of these things were what I wanted to remain a part of.”
La Russa ranks third on Major League Baseball’s all-time managerial wins list with 2,375, trailing only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). He’s 2nd on the Cardinals all-time games managed list with 1,942, trailing only Red Schoendienst (1,996) and his 12 continuous years as Cardinals manager matches Schoendienst’s club mark (1965-76). La Russa is 3rd all-time in games managed with 4,449, including stints with the Chicago White Sox (1979-86) and Oakland A’s (1986-95).
La Russa’s Cardinals teams have finished above .500 in nine of his 12 seasons. They recorded 105 wins in 2004 and 100 wins in 2005, making La Russa just the second Cardinals manager to oversee two 100-win seasons. Billy Southworth guided the Cardinals to three consecutive 100-win seasons from 1942-44. La Russa and Sparky Anderson are the only managers to have led both a National and American League team to World Series titles.
During La Russa’s 12 years at the Cardinals helm, the team has surpassed 3 million in attendance nine times, including a franchise record 3, 552,180 fans this past season. His Cardinals teams have finished no lower then 3rd place in all but two seasons and they have held 1st place or been within a game of 1st place during the month of September in each of the past eight seasons.
Prior to this season’s 78-84 finish, the Cardinals were the lone National League team to have posted a winning record in every season since 2000.