’14 and counting

La Russa’s retirement adds another legendary name to potential Hall of Fame electees in 2014

October 31, 2011
St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa led his teams to six pennants and three World Series titles. (Brad Mangin/NBHOF Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – The 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014 is shaping up to be an unforgettable year in Cooperstown.

On Monday, St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa – fresh of his team’s exhilarating win over the Rangers in the World Series – announced his retirement. The 67-year-old La Russa, who led his teams to six pennants and three World Series titles in 33 years as a big league manager, will become eligible for the Hall of Fame next spring provided he remains retired.

Because he spent his managerial career in the Expansion Era (1973 to the present), La Russa would be eligible for consideration by the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era Committee, which next meets in the fall of 2013 to consider candidates for the Class of 2014.

La Russa’s retirement means three record-setting managers – Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and La Russa – will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration for the first time by the Expansion Era Committee in 2013. It could result in a memorable Class of 2014.

Cox, who retired from the Braves following the 2010 season, ranks fourth on the all-time managerial win list with 2,503. He managed the Braves from 1978-81, led the Blue Jays to their first postseason berth in 1985 – then returned to Atlanta,  where he led the Braves to 14 straight postseason births, including five National League pennants and one World Series title.

Torre ranks fifth on the all-time win list with 2,326. After stints with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, Torre took over the Yankees in 1996 and led New York to its first World Series title in 18 seasons. In 12 seasons with the Yankees, Torre’s teams won six American League pennants and four World Series titles.

La Russa ranks third on the all-time managerial win list with 2,728 victories, behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw. Only Mack managed more games than La Russa’s 5,097.

But the managers are just the start of the potential Class of 2014 in Cooperstown. Players eligible for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the first time that year will include 300-game winners Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and 500-home run club member Frank Thomas. Click here to see a partial list of first-time eligible candidates in 2014. 

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum