Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tony LaRussa, Dave Duncan and Connie Mack

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St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa deserves a SHOUTOUT and a FIST PUMP for becoming the second manager in major league history to manage 5000 major league games. LaRussa, who is 2676-2320-4 for his career, joined the legendary Connie Mack who managed 7755 games in 53 years with the Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1950) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1894-1896).

LaRussa began his managerial career in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox and has not looked back since. He managed the White Sox from 1979-1986, he then managed the Oakland A's from 1986 to 1995 and has been with the Cardinals since 1996. He has made 5 World Series appearances with [Oakland - 1988, 1989, 1990] and [St. Louis - 2004, 2006] and has won 2 World Series titles-- 1989, 2006.

There is no question that for someone to last long enough to manage 5000 games they must be very successful at what they do and LaRussa has been just that. And like many things in life, when you've done it successfully for a long time chances are that someone has been around to help you. So is the case with LaRussa--
AP Photo

A major reason for his long and successful run has been his partnership with his long-time pitching coach Dave Duncan. Duncan has been by LaRussa's side since 1983 and if my math is correct, has been with him for 4516 of the 5000 games. So Duncan deserves a SHOUTOUT as well. Even LaRussa recognizes how important Duncan has been to his success by saying on many occasions, "Where Dave goes, I go." And for the past few years LaRussa's decision to continue managing has been made easier because Duncan has chosen to come back and not retire.

Here is a quick bio of Duncan's coaching career, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Duncan began his coaching career in 1978 with the Cleveland Indians. After a stint as a pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners in 1982, he joined former teammate LaRussa, then manager of the Chicago White Sox. Since that time they have worked together as manager and pitching coach, joining Oakland in 1985 and the Cardinals in 1995.

Pitchers on Duncan's staffs have won four Cy Young Awards: LaMarr Hoyt in 1983; Bob Welch in 1990; Dennis Eckersley in 1992; and Chris Carpenter in 2005. From 1988 through 1990, his Oakland pitchers had the lowest ERA in the American League, and in 2005 the St. Louis staff had the lowest ERA in the majors. LaRussa regularly credits Duncan as being a key factor in the success of the teams he has managed over the last 25 years.

So no doubt the LaRussa-Duncan tandem is a partnership unlike any we've ever seen and probably never see again.

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