As we all know, Tony LaRussa the "manager" is one of the all-time greats.
Between 1979 and 2011, a span of 33 years, he managed three teams (White Sox, A's and Cardinals) to 2728 victories, six pennants, three world championships, and 12 first place finishes.
You can easily make an argument for LaRussa as the best modern era manager in baseball.
Now, Tony LaRussa the "player". Well…
Let's just say that he never really fulfilled the promise on THAT end of his career.
He came up in 1963 for a brief cup of coffee with the Kansas City Athletics, but wouldn't make it back up to the big leagues again until 1968, when he appeared in only five games, good for three at-bats.
Actually, in his six year playing career, he never really got a chunk of playing time in any one season.
However, ironically enough, the MOST action he ever saw was during the 1970 season while still playing for the A's, when he got into 52 games at second base, good for 106 at-bats.
He didn't make much of the opportunity, batting .198 with 21 hits and six runs batted in.
However, if there was EVER a year where Topps should have given the guy a baseball card you think it would be the only year he scraped together more than 100+ plate appearances, no?
Yet Topps didn't have a LaRussa card in their 1971 set, even though he WAS included in their sets in 1964, 1968 and 1972.
Well, today I post up a "missing" design for a 1971 Tony LaRussa card.
Even though his playing days left a lot to be desired, he was well on his way to the Hall of Fame once he got the hold of managing a squad in 1979.
|LaRussa already has the look of a leader!|