The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 7 of the World Series on Friday to secure the franchise’s 11th title (11 in ’11 is not ironic, despite what Shane Victorino thinks) and they had a whopping 48 hours or so to enjoy it before the entire world crumbled around them. Yesterday morning, Tony LaRussa announced his retirement after 33 years of managing and three World Series wins (16 and 2 with the Cardinals, respectively). Instead of celebrating an incredibly improbable championship run, Cardinals players and fans now wonder, “Who will be the next manager and will it affect whether or not Albert Pujols stays?”
Only one man – St. Louis GM John Mozeliak – knows the answer to that first question, and only one man – Albert Pujols – knows the answer to the second question. Granted, his agent, wife and kids probably know, but he’s the only man who matters for right now. That doesn’t mean, though, that every sports writer, blogger and Internet commenter on Earth won’t make predictions, some of them accurate and most of them way off base. First up, former Cardinal and the grittiest shortstop ever, David Eckstein.
“Albert would stay if (Jose) Oquendo got the job.”
“My initial reaction (after learning of La Russa’s retirement) was, ‘It needs to be Jose Oquendo,’” Eckstein said. “When you played for Tony, you didn’t want to disappoint him. When I was playing infield for Jose, I didn’t want to disappoint him. I know how much he has put into this. When you can get a player to play outside of himself, for someone else, that’s when you get the best out of a player.”
(Via Fox Sports)
LaRussa has long lobbied for Oquendo to get his shot at managing a big league ballclub, and he certainly has a nice foundation and situation in St. Louis. He makes sense as a replacement, as the fans and players love him. But that really doesn’t mean much of anything.