October 31, 2011 [LINK / comment]

Tony LaRussa retires as a winner

Soon after the victory parade in downtown St. Louis, manager Tony LaRussa announced his retirement, after 16 years as manager of the Cardinals, including two World Series titles in the past six years. He also led the Oakland A's to their last world championship, in 1989, and managed the White Sox before that, starting in 1979. At the relatively young age (for a manager) of 67, he is a legend in his own time, ranking among the greatest managers of all time. With 2,728 total career wins, he comes just behind John McGraw (with 2,763 wins) but far behind the all-time leader, Connie Mack (with 3,731 wins). He said he was not concerned with surpassing McGraw in career wins. See MLB.com.

What will this mean for the ongoing negotiations with free agent Albert Pujols? That is the $40,000 question that everyone is asking. I just hope Scott Boras isn't involved, but he probably is.

Davey Johnson is staying put

The Washington Nationals front office decided to retain the services of Davey Johnson for the 2012 season. In technical terms, they picked up the option on his contract. See MLB.com. That's good news, and not just because Johnson is a top-notch manager, with 15 years experience running the Nationals, Dodgers, Orioles, Reds, and Mets. The Nationals are in dire need of stability as the franchise moves up to the next level of competitiveness. Almost everyone expects the Nationals to do even better in 2012 than in 2011, and if all the right pieces fall in place, they might even become postseason contenders. Johnson says his goal is the National League pennant.

Ironically, the Nats were over .500 (38-37) when the former manager, Jim Riggleman, abruptly resigned after his pleas for negotiating a longer-term contract were ignored. The Nats were 40-43 under Johnson, and it should be noted that before their season-ending hot streak (which began on September 11), they were only 26-39 under Johnson. (There was an "interregnum" lasting three games.) Without that late-season surge, the Nats front office probably would have looked elsewhere for a manager.

Haunted stadiums?

Since this is Halloween, I was wondering if there have ever been stories of old baseball stadiums being haunted. Since baseball is rife with superstition, I'm sure that must be the case somewhere. If I come across anything, I'll make a point to update the Stadiums in Limbo page.