The day finally arrived for the Class of 2014 baseball edition! The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted the greatest class of legends since the inaugural 1936 class in a fabulous ceremony held at DoubleDay Field in Cooperstown New York. Today was all about the careers of these six legends, the plaques that now hang in the Hall, and the speeches which are the highlight of the ceremony.
Each speech was unique and entertaining which made this year extra special. Congrats to the entire 2014 class including starters Tom Glavine, and Gregg Maddux, the Big Hurt Frank Thomas, and three of the best managers in the history of the game: Joe Torre who had his great success with the New York Yankees, Bobby Cox of the Braves, and Tony La Russa who had his greatest success with the St. Louis Cardinals.
La Russa was a hall of fame manager, and is always going to be known for that part of his career. He was inducted by the expansion era commitee along with Cox and Torre. However, since leaving the dugout, he has stayed active in the game.
He first worked for Commissioner Bud Selig as a special adviser. Then in late May, La Russa was hired as the Dbacks first ever Chief Baseball Officer. Everybody was sensing that a change in the front office was coming with the team struggling, and General Manager Kevin Towers on the hot seat.
La Russa is now ahead of Towers, and he makes all of the baseball operations decisions. Since La Russa was hired, the Dbacks have played better showing their more talented than their place in the standings. That’s a testament to La Russa smarts, and his leadership. He has a huge presence and impact in the clubhouse and throughout the organization, and he is determined to make the Dbacks better.
As a manager, La Russa has the third most wins in Major League History with 2,728 wins over his long career. That is third all time only behind John McGraw and Connie Mack. He was manager of the year four times, won 12 division titles, and 6 pennants. He won the World Series in 1989 with the Athletics, and in 2006 and 2011 with the Cardinals. As a player, he batted .199 in 132 games.
He got his start in managing with the Chicago Whitesox, and then his managing career took off. In his speech he ad libbed and this was probably the quote to remember: “Tony is prepared and the team is prepared.” That wasn’t a correct characterization, he said. “Preparing is studying for the test … We took the test.”
The Diamondbacks have to be excited to have a mind like La Russa in charge of baseball operations. Fans can expect good things to come. Congrats to Tony on his well deserved induction.