Apart from the fact that most Cincinnati Reds fans hate Tony LaRussa, he is the perfect candidate for the job which is currently available due to the recent firing of Manager, Dusty Baker. He is undoubtedly a Hall of Fame manager, already. Are you thinking he should just sit back in a rocker and rest on the ol’ laurels?
He is not in the hunt (*wink wink*) at the present time and claims that he is not interested in the Reds’ managerial position. “I miss the winning and losing, but I’m really pleased that I’m allowed to stay close to the game,” La Russa said. “If I ever got back to the winning and losing, it would be upstairs. It wouldn’t be on the field.” You can take the manager out of the dugout, but you can’t take the dugout out of a manager. Before you attempt to see who coined that phrase, I have never heard it, but it makes sense. I wouldn’t expect LaRussa to say anything differently.
Look who else is on the menu. Jim Riggleman, please give me a break sir. Thank you kindly for the offer, but I prefer my managers to have a won/loss record that is not under water. I am sure he is nice, knows baseball, and has not had the right team yet, blah, blah, blah. Still, that 162 game deficiency is not pleasing to the eye. In 12 years he has only three seasons above .500. He also did not win half of his games at Louisville in the first campaign.
Bryan Price is also on the list. I love the Reds’ pitching coach. That however does not qualify him to become the manager. If I were selecting a manager on personality and intangibles, Bryan would probably be my man. I think that he is the best pitching coach in baseball, period. If you are wondering, he is not free to go elsewhere at the present time as he still has time on contract to the Reds. Would he become a coach/manager, a la a player/manager? Who would he send out to talk to a pitcher?
Please, do not get me started on David Bell. If you must go into the ranks of the minor leagues, please bring Rick Sweet forward. He is deserving of a shot.
LaRussa, 68, is arguably the best manager of his era. His 2,728 wins sits him comfortably in third place on the all-time list, behind Connie Mack and John McGraw, both already enshrined into the Hall of Fame. He is also in third place on the list of playoff appearances with 14, behind Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, with 16 and 15 respectively. In two short years he could become tied for the all-time lead in playoff appearances, and nobody active or alive is close behind him. He and former Reds’ manager, Sparky Anderson are the only two men to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.
The man found a way to win, you have to give him his props. It seemed as though the Cardinals were always in the playoffs with him, even during rebuilding years when he wasn’t supposed to be. He found a way to win.
Let’s not forgot his long time working relationship with Reds current GM, Walt Jocketty. Jocketty was Director of Baseball Administration of the Oakland Athletics when LaRussa was hired in 1986. After leaving Oakland he was called to St. Louis by his former boss, Jocketty in 1996. The two worked together with the Cardinals until Jocketty was let go in 2007. Jocketty has had a propensity to surround himself with former associates. While with the Reds, he brought Miguel Cairo, Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick, all former Cardinals to the Queen City.
Baker had a good run in Cincinnati but it seemed he was always out-managed by LaRussa. The two did have a very competitive rivalry in their careers, LaRussa won 103 and Baker won 100.
Baker has generally been known as a “player’s manager” and will no doubt be missed by many of the Reds’ players. He clearly was not a disciplinarian. He would look the other way when players made base-running miscues. Some managers would pull a man right out of the game, which I think is just as offensive as gazing in the other direction. A man has to know more than baseball to be a good manager. He has to manage multi-millionaires, almost all of whom make more money than he does. He has to have good organizational skills, knowing about the Disabled List, minor league affiliates, etc.
As a fan what is your biggest interest? Is it seeing the team become all it should be, or should we bring in a manager just because we dislike another?