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 facing
such terrible odds 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 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: among them, his
first days managing the Chicago White Sox, his championship years with the
Oakland A’s, and his triumphant tenure as St. Louis’ 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
led him 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. Download and start listening now!