From the Publisher
"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
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.