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Tony La Russa retires: 'This just feels like it's time to end it'

October 31, 2011 |  9:35 am

Tony La Russa retires as Cardinals manager

Tony La Russa's 33-year career as a major league manager will have a storybook ending. Three days after his St. Louis Cardinals wrapped up their improbable run to the World Series championship, La Russa announced his retirement Monday and said he wouldn't manage again.

La Russa made his announcement during a news conference at Busch Stadium, a day after the team celebrated the championship with the rest of St. Louis. When asked if would ever return to baseball as a manager, the 67-year-old answered flatly, "No."

"I think this just feels like it's time to end it," he said.

La Russa said he started having doubts about returning in 2012 about midway through the season and talked to team management about it in late August. At the time, a happy conclusion to the Cardinals' season — and La Russa's career — seemed improbable, with the team seemingly out of wild-card contention (10-1/2 games behind Atlanta on Aug. 25).

But after slipping into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, the Cardinals went on a seemingly miraculous run through the postseason. Two times they were a strike away from losing Game 6 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers but ended up winning the championship in seven — providing an unlikely, magical finale for La Russa.

"Other than some of the personal attachments, I feel good," he said. "I feel good that this is the right decision."

La Russa spoke with little emotion except for when he had to pause to compose himself while thanking his wife, Elaine, and two daughters. But he said things were more emotional when he informed the players of his decision following Sunday's parade and celebration.

"Some grown men cried," said La Russa, who has been the Cardinals' manager since 1996.

General manager John Mozeliak said a search committee would be formed to find a replacement for the manager with the third-most wins in league history, but he did not set a timeline for the process.

La Russa, who also won the World Series as manager of the Cardinals in 2006 and Oakland Athletics in 1989, said he was open to the possibility of some sort of baseball job in the future. But he has other ideas as well. "Maybe open a book store," he said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Tony La Russa announces his retirement at a news conference at Busch Stadium. Credit: Scott Rovak / US Presswire

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