J. D. Thorne, speaker and author of the new book Baseball’s Winning Ways  (Available on Amazon Books).

“After The First Two Weeks”

I believe one of the most interesting baseball stories no one is covering is how Tony La Russa is doing?  The “Pale Hose” are predicted to win the American League Central Division. Tony is my absolute hero!  Can us older folks still provide some wisdom from our lifelong accumulation of knowledge and our experiences?

La Russa is the epitome of the test.  At age 77, he has a year of experience under his belt of being an “elder” manager.  But can he relate to much younger players? He is the one who pencils their name on the line-up card for today’s game.

La Russa is the second winningest manger of all time, yet, still adding to his totals.  But this situation is not the same as a team like the White Sox playing Minnie Minoso to make another decade of play for him or to increase his pension—or Satchel Paige being able to pitch one last time (throwing three scoreless innings on the occasion).  No, La Russa’s case is different.  The White Sox owner has him in charge to win the American League Central Division again which attracts interest in the ball team from loyal fans and others; and his success improves the growth of the owner’s investment in the franchise.  La Russa managing is no sentimental homage.  The owner is “playing for all the marbles.”

At age 73 myself, I should cheer for the White Sox to meet the Brewers in the World Series.  Mr. La Russa knows how to organize a winning team, he’s proven that before.  He admitted last year that he felt more as an “overseer” letting his pitching coach and batting coach deal with the performance issues of those players.  Maybe it’s a case of adjusting for his age. And of course, it is the players who have to play and perform.  Has La Russa lost some of his management skills?  Not necessarily. And with more help, maybe the game doesn’t have to come at him relentlessly at the speed of sound?  Still folks will ask: Can Tony keep up, let alone lead?  It is not an easy job at any age.

Let’s watch and see.  Another septuagenarian, Casey Stengel, managed the Yankees into the World Series in 1960.  Jack McKeon won a World Series with the Marlins at age 72. Connie Mack was age 88 when he retired! Many others like Joe McCarthy were winners into their senior years. It is a story to watch.

 

Sporting Chance Press includes books on sports including baseball. Our baseball books:

The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy’s Principles for Baseball (and Life)  also by J. D. Thorne

Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball’s Fred Merkle

Baseball’s Winning Ways