I know several Cardinals fans who never took to Tony La Russa -- even though he won, won and won some more.
Even after delivering two World Series, La Russa was considered, by some, to be too brusque, too I-invented-basebally, too I'm-not-lovable-like-Whitey-Herzoggy.
Well, La Russa must be laughing at those folks now, at least a little bit.
La Russa announced his retirement just a few days after winning his third Series as manager ... and he has to know he'll be one tremendously difficult act to follow.
There simply is nobody in his league. Period.
He was among my least favorite managers/coaches to deal with during my years as a sportswriter. He took far too much offense at even basic questions. He always seemed pissed off at something or somebody. And his defiant streak -- such as when he refused to believe the body of evidence against cheating juicer Mark McLiar and then made McLiar the team's hitting coach -- was legendary.
Still, were I a GM, I can't say there is one man I'd hire ahead of La Russa should he decide to come out of retirement.
I don't particularly like him, but I like winning. And nobody in modern times has done it better.