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Download One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season Audiobook, by Tony La Russa Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (218 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tony La Russa Narrator: Tony La Russa, Scott Sowers Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780062210838
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The team that refused to give up
their manager in his final season
A comeback that changed baseball

After thirty-three seasons managing in Major League Baseball, Tony La Russa thought he had seen it all—that is, until the 2011 Cardinals. Down ten and a half games with little more than a month to play, the Cardinals had long been ruled out as serious postseason contenders. Yet in the face of those steep odds, this team mounted one of the most dramatic and impressive comebacks in baseball history, making the playoffs on the night of the final game of the season and going on to win the World Series despite being down to their last strike—twice.

Now La Russa gives the inside story behind this astonishing comeback and his remarkable career, explaining how a team with so much against it was able to succeed on baseball's biggest stage. Opening up about the devastating injuries, the bullpen struggles, the crucial games, and the players who made it all possible, he reveals how the team's character shaped its accomplishments, demonstrating how this group came together in good times and in bad to become that rarest of things: a team that actually enjoyed it when the odds were against them.

But this story is much more than that of a single season. As La Russa, the third-winningest manager in baseball history, explains, their season was the culmination of a lifetime spent studying the game. Laying bare his often scrutinized and frequently misunderstood approach to managing, he explains his counterintuitive belief in process over result, present moments over statistics, and team unity over individual talent. Along the way he shares the stories from throughout his career that shaped his outlook—from his first days managing the Chicago White Sox to his championship years with the Oakland A's, to his triumphant tenure as St. Louis's longest-serving manager. Setting the record straight on his famously intense style, he explores the vital yet overlooked role that his personal relationships with his players have contributed to his victories, ultimately showing how, in a sport often governed by cold, hard numbers, the secret to his success has been surprisingly human.

Speaking candidly about his decision to retire, La Russa discusses the changes that he'd observed both in the game and in himself that told him, despite his success, it was time to hang up his spikes. The end result is a passionate, insightful, and remarkable look at our national pastime that takes you behind the scenes of the comeback that no one thought possible and inside the mind of one of the game's greatest managers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A baseball exposé that keeps the focus squarely inside the ballpark.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ray Charbonneau | 2/20/2014

    " LaRussa proves he's the pompous ass you always thought he was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Schneider | 2/17/2014

    " An interesting account, at least to a Cardinal baseball fan, of the almost miraculous concluding season (2011) in Tony La Russa's managing career. La Russa provides a blow-by-blow account of the down-to-the-wire drive to make the playoffs, then the incredible comebacks that resulted in a World Series chanpionship. He gives the fan some insight into his logic and decision-making process while guiding the Cardinals and even his previous managerial stints in Oakland and Chicago are captured in this memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 1/23/2014

    " Perfect reading during postseason baseball, especially if you are a Cardinal baseball fan. Great insight into the man who coached the Cards to two World Series Championships, one which will likely be the most remarkable Series ever in history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andy | 1/22/2014

    " La Russa's ghost writer failed miserably in his job to make a non-writer's writing read like it was written by a professional. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Coombs | 1/20/2014

    " First of all, I place a high value on intelligence and how people who have it, use it. Secondly, I have been a rabid baseball fan for as long as I can remember. Given those things, LaRussa has always been one of my favorite - and one of the most compelling to me - people in the game. This book is tremendous. Engaging. Insightful. Written at a level a cut above most other books of its kind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deshay | 1/12/2014

    " For a baseball and St. Louis Cardinals fan, this was a fun, snow day read when I was wishing the boys of summer were back. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tonica | 1/11/2014

    " I've been studying these players for a project that is being written. I loved the insight and answers to the whys to the times of asking. La Russa is a funny and soft spoken man when I met and talked with him. What a man! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris Sumski | 1/8/2014

    " Not bad, but more often than not reads like a La Russa press conference. The candid and honest portions are worth it, but are sadly in the minority of stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beverly | 1/4/2014

    " I'm a huge fan of TLR and his accomplishments! But he's not ready to tell tales yet and I was hoping for more insights! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jim | 1/4/2014

    " Normally I like baseball books, but this one get boring real quickly. Maybe the subject (Cardinals) was part of the problem, as I am a Cubs fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 12/8/2013

    " I've always liked Tony La Russa so I was excited to read this book. It not only has good insight into the Cards 2011 Championship season, but Tony makes flashbacks to other high points in his career (i.e. transition from player to manager, A's years, and 1989 earthquake). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Moyer | 12/3/2013

    " Just OK. Cardinals fans and many baseball fans will like the book, but once an arrogant jackass, always an arrogant jackass. Nothing much here to change that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig McCallum | 10/23/2013

    " Being a die-hard Card's fan I was anxious to read this. I enjoyed the book but only because I am a fan. Tony seemed to go out of his way to be non-controversial which made the book less interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Chilton | 4/14/2013

    " La Russa isn't the greatest storyteller, and can be a bit dry at times, but, considering the subject matter, I enjoyed it nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaelie | 2/22/2013

    " Maybe a little too involved for the casual baseball fan (and gives very little in the way of behind-the-scenes-in-the-clubhouse stories), but some excellent insight on managing big games, and a successful attempt to capture the giddy joy of the Cardinals 2011 season. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Gorski | 11/10/2012

    " Must reading for St. Louis Cardinal fans...provided a great insight into Tony LaRusso who as manager gave us 15 years of great baseball and provided much fodder for second guessing fans. "

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About the Author

Tony La Russa managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 1996 to 2011, as well as the Oakland A's and the Chicago White Sox. He has three World Series wins, six league championships, and five Manager of the Year awards, and is ranked third in all-time major league wins. He and his wife, Elaine, founded the Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, California. They have two daughters, Bianca and Devon.

Rick Hummel has covered baseball for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for forty years. A former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, he has received numerous awards for his writing and has been honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

About the Narrator

Scott Sowers is an actor and audiobook narrator. AudioFile magazine named him the 2008 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense.