In a move that makes as much sense as the Oakland Athletics attempting to trade Brett Anderson, the former A’s manager was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era committee. There was never any doubt that Tony La Russa was worthy of election to the Hall of Fame, and the fact that he will be inducted into the Hall alongside both Joe Torre and Bobby Cox makes the timing of this all the more fitting.
Many fans may remember La Russa for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals, and justifiably so because he won two World Series Championships there in 2006 and 2011. But his time in Oakland with the Athletics was just as successful as his time in St. Louis. The A’s reached three consecutive World Series from 1988-1990, winning it all in 1989. Each of those times though the A’s were heavily favored, but simply couldn’t get the job done when the time came. The A’s very well could have had their second three-peat as champions within two decades, but it wasn’t meant to be.
La Russa made the Athletics a dominant force in the American League once again, a run that lasted into the early to mid 90’s. The Bash Brothers, the vaunted pitching staff, a Hall of Fame closer, the best leadoff hitter ever, La Russa was the leader of a tremendous collection of talent, and he made them successful. Oftentimes we see teams that are the most talented on paper fail miserably on the field. The ability of La Russa to turn those Athletics teams into a cohesive unit was nothing short of amazing.
La Russa always maintained ties to the Bay Area, and still runs his Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) that is based here. Chances are very good that the A’s will honor him in some fashion this upcoming season, and it will be a wonderful event for sure, featuring a number of players from those teams. La Russa is revered in two MLB cities, and he deserves every bit of it.