Tony La Russa, the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history, agreed on Monday to a new one-year contract with the ballclub for the upcoming 2011 season. The new contract also includes a mutual option for the 2012 season.
“We are excited to have Tony returning and are looking forward to 2011,” stated Cardinals Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr. “He has guided the team in one of the greatest eras in Cardinals history and we are pleased that he will continue that leadership next season.”
In addition, the Cardinals announced that members of the team’s Major League coaching staff will be offered contracts in the coming week. Bullpen Coach Marty Mason will not be retained by the team and it is the intention of both Sr. Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak and La Russa to fill the bullpen coaching vacancy from within the Cardinals organization.
La Russa, 66, has guided the Cardinals to a franchise record 1,318 wins since joining the team as its manager in 1996. He has led the Cardinals to eight division titles (1996, 2000-02, 2004-06 & 2009), two National League pennants (2004 & 2006) and a 10th World Championship title in 2006.
La Russa ranks 3rd on Major League Baseball’s all-time managerial wins list with 2,638, trailing only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). La Russa is 2nd all-time in games managed with 4,935, including stints with the Chicago White Sox (1979-86) and Oakland A’s (1986-95). He ranks 1st on the Cardinals all-time games managed list with 2,429 and his 15 years of continuous service is also tops among Cardinals managers.
La Russa’s Cardinals teams have finished above .500 in 12 of his 15 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 15 years at the Cardinals helm, the team has surpassed 3 million in attendance 12 times, including a franchise record 3,552,180 fans in 2007. His Cardinals teams have finished no lower then 3rd place in all but three seasons.
La Russa’s Cardinals teams posted a National League best 913 wins during the decade of the 2000s, winning a league-leading 33 postseason games during that same time frame. La Russa plans to be in St. Louis on Tuesday, Oct. 19 to meet with the media.