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Tony La Russa: Man on a Mission Kindle Edition

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Kindle, March 1, 2009

Length: 333 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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From the Publisher

"You don't know Tony La Russa. You think you do, but you don't. I guarantee you that what you think you know about this man is not accurate. I have never met a man in sports or life who is more misunderstood." --Joe Buck, from his foreword

"What tells you how good a manager is, is length of time. Owners don't keep you around if you don't have a lot of good things going for you." --Sparky Anderson

"Tony has a knack that is rare in managers. He can be friendly with his players and he can be a disciplinarian. He can talk with a player about a mistake and not make it seem like he's jumping on him." --Jerry Koosman

"As a manager he was always three innings ahead. A lot of times he would make a move in a game that I didn't understand and which I thought was pretty dumb. Later, I would ask him about it, and after our discussion I thought I was the idiot." --Jerry Reinsdorf

"He loves the game, he respects it. He loves the players. He is relentless in competing. He won't let up, no matter what." --Jim Leyland

From the Inside Flap

On August 3, 1979, Tony La Russa stepped into the dugout as the new manager of Bill Veeck's Chicago White Sox. He was 34 years old, unproven, and, to some critics, only there because he would work for cheap.

Thirty years later, La Russa is still a major-league manager, beginning his 14th season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. He has won more games than any manager in history except Connie Mack and John McGraw. In 2006 he became just the second manager to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.

Despite that success and longevity, La Russa has not quieted all of his critics. There is a reason frequent polls of major-league players rank him first as both the manager they would most like to play for and the manager they would least like to play for.

In Tony La Russa: Man on a Mission, fans and detractors alike will come to learn more about La Russa's life, from his days growing up in Tampa, to his bonus-baby status as an 18-year-old shortstop with the Kansas City Athletics, to his turbulent beginning as a major-league manager with the White Sox, and on to his successful years with the Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals.

In interviews with more than 50 relatives, childhood friends, former players, coaches, fellow managers, and baseball executives veteran sportswriter Rob Rains paints a portrait of La Russa that reveals why he truly is a man on a mission.

Product Details

  • File Size: 581 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1600781691
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (March 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003TXS8IG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom Barnes on May 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Doc Holliday's Road to Tombstone: The Life and Times of John Henry Holliday

Tony La Russa grew up in Tampa, Florida and unlike most kids that wanted to be a fireman one week and a policeman the next, Tony wanted to play baseball. And not only did he want to play at that early age, he wanted to win. The youngster played in the little leagues and later an American Legion team and he grew as a player at every level.
His first contact with the major leagues was when Charlie Finley came to his home in Tampa and as soon as he graduated high school Finley signed him to a contract with the Kansas City Athletics. Tony was 18 years old, and spent his contract time with the Athletics then he was assigned to a Kansas City farm club in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was a utility infielder playing mainly short stop and in that first season hit .258. Near the end of the season they bumped him up to class A and in 12 games he hit .186.
La Russa had some success in the minor leagues but his work ethic probably kept him in the game as much as his playing talent. During his latter years in the minor leagues he spent time with the Atlanta Braves organization and was hitting .308 for a good stretch. But late in the season when he wasn't called up to the Braves, he began to think it was time to look for another way to make a living.
Once again La Russa's work ethic and growing knowledge of the game had gotten the attention of Loren Babe, manager of the White Sox triple A team at Denver. Then in 1978 when the White Sox club at Knoxville needed help Babe thought La Russa might make a good manager.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This ia a very well-written, well-researched effort on the part of Rob Rains, whose reputation for same is well-deserved. Having been part of a writing team with Rob in the past on, I have experienced first-hand how carefully he digs for information and considers all sides of the issues before he puts words to paper (as opposed to my "writing from the gut" method!).

I learned a lot from reading "Man With A Mission", and it makes a terrific counterpoint/companion volume to the earlier book on Tony La Russa, "Three Nights in August".

Love La Russa or hate him, this is a book that no good Cardinal fan - indeed, no good baseball fan - should be without!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on March 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you love baseball and if you ever wanted to know how a manager thinks this is the book for you. I have always thought that baseball was a simple game until I read this book. Baseball is as complicated a game as football perhaps even surpassing that spot in strategy and planning. Whereas football coaches have a week between games to prepare, their players' baseball managers have at the very least hours between games at the most a day or two. During those hours to days between games, managers and coaches must analyze the weakness and strengths of their opponents' pitchers and the hitters. In turn, they must pass this knowledge on to their players. During the game, the manager must make quick adjustments to his game plan whenever the opposing manager changes pitchers or players. This book, which spans A must read for anyone who enjoys the game but especially for those, who like me, thought that baseball was nothing more than pitching, hitting and fielding. This book will show that baseball is much more then is a complicated game played, manage and coach by complicated men. From his humble upbringing to his fame as a manager this book shows that Tony La Russa is not your average Joe...he is an intelligent and driven man who could be a leader in any chosen profession...I am so happy that his choice was baseball. He made the game exciting and fun to watch and as a die-hard Cardinal fan I am ever grateful for the joy he brought to Cardinal Nation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By my name on March 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have followed Tony LaRussa's career for close to 30 years now, & I still find this man so intriguing, both professionally and personally. This book gives great insight into how his mind works. Really very interesting to see how he plans and approaches every game. A definite shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.
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Format: Hardcover
Tony LaRussa has been on "a mission" for as long as I can remember, but after somehow pulling off the miracle of getting the Cardinals their tenth World Series title in 2006, I think he's accomplished that mission. What more does he need to prove?

Rob Raines does a wonderful job of capturing the intensity of LaRussa, as well as the compassion this man has for his players. I remember vividly the courage and determination he displayed after the tragic loss of Darryl Kile in 2002, and how his team rallied around Kile's memory to go on and easily win the NL Central.

I also remember the intensity of this man as he began his successful managerial career with the White Sox in the early '80s before heading to Oakland and taking the World Series Championship from the Giants in '89.

Of course, his team's stunning failure the very next year against Cincinnati only added fuel to his buring passion to win. A few years later, after leaving Oakland and taking over in St Louis, he somehow got the Cardinals into the post-season, nearly upseting a very talented Atlanta Braves team for a chance to go to the World Series.

Ten years later, he accomplished that goal, as the Cardinals, who appeared to be dead at the end of the regular season, got healthy at just the right time to become the best team for a few weeks---the most important few weeks---the post-season.

LaRussa's recent travails make you wonder just how much more he can take before deciding that he's had enough; mission accomplished.

It's funny, but in Jack Buck's memoir,
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