By Tony La Russa
The staff that refused to renounce
their supervisor in his ultimate season
A comeback that modified baseball
After thirty-three seasons dealing with in significant League Baseball, Tony l. a. Russa concept he had obvious it all—that is, until eventually the 2011 Cardinals. Down ten and a part video games with little greater than a month to play, the Cardinals had lengthy been governed out as critical postseason contenders. but within the face of these steep odds, this workforce fixed essentially the most dramatic and bold comebacks in baseball background, making the playoffs at the evening of the ultimate online game of the season and happening to win the area sequence regardless of being right down to their final strike—twice.
Now los angeles Russa offers the interior tale in the back of this dazzling comeback and his extraordinary profession, explaining how a workforce with rather a lot opposed to it was once capable of be successful on baseball's greatest degree. starting up concerning the devastating accidents, the bullpen struggles, the an important video games, and the avid gamers who made all of it attainable, he finds how the team's personality formed its accomplishments, demonstrating how this staff got here jointly in reliable instances and in undesirable to develop into that rarest of items: a group that truly enjoyed it whilst the chances have been opposed to them.
yet this tale is way greater than that of a unmarried season. As los angeles Russa, the third-winningest supervisor in baseball historical past, explains, their season was once the fruits of a life-time spent learning the sport. Laying naked his frequently scrutinized and often misunderstood method of coping with, he explains his counterintuitive trust in procedure over outcome, current moments over data, and group cohesion over person expertise. alongside the best way he stocks the tales from all through his profession that formed his outlook—from his first days coping with the Chicago White Sox to his championship years with the Oakland A's, to his victorious tenure as St. Louis's longest-serving supervisor. atmosphere the list instantly on his famously excessive kind, he explores the very important but ignored function that his own relationships along with his gamers have contributed to his victories, eventually displaying how, in a recreation frequently ruled by means of chilly, challenging numbers, the key to his luck has been unusually human.
conversing candidly approximately his choice to retire, los angeles Russa discusses the alterations that he'd saw either within the online game and in himself that instructed him, regardless of his luck, it used to be time to hold up his spikes. the result is a passionate, insightful, and memorable examine our nationwide hobby that takes you behind the curtain of the comeback that nobody notion attainable and contained in the brain of 1 of the game's maximum managers.
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Additional info for One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season
I started with the light stuff that off-season before the 1985 season, your basic testosterone, liquid form, combined with some Deca Derbol. I lifted weights seriously all the way through to spring training the next February. Coming back from Modesto the previous year, I'd weighed only 180 pounds. A few months of work at the gym—and my new steroid regimen—made all the difference: I arrived at spring training in 1985 twenty-five pounds heavier than the year before, and it was all solid muscle. "Wow, you've been really working hard in the off-season," the general manager, Walt Jocketty, told me.
I needed to get bigger, stronger, smarter, and more patient at the plate. But the thing I was most focused on was speed. Even though I stole fifteen bases as a rookie, and only got thrown out seven times, I knew I had the potential to steal a lot more bases. But I could only do that if I learned how to harness my speed and develop a more explosive first step, which makes all the difference when you're trying to get a good jump down to second base. I was so rough back then, I was focused on everything from cutting down on my strikeouts to psychological strengthening.
The one thing I started doing pretty well was hitting the baseball. I guess I just had good hand-eye coordination or something. Even with that skinny, lanky body of mine, I showed some talent for hitting some baseballs pretty far. That's what people remember who knew me back then. One time, we had a practice game where half our team was going against the other half. A guy named Val Lopez was on the opposing team, and he was a friend of ours. A lot of times, he would pick us up and give us a ride to practice or to games.
One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season by Tony La Russa