TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, just ask any
coach, it's just not personal. What you feel is the
organization, coaches, we all just work to put guys
in position. It's players determine how successful
you are. I feel great because I mentioned out
there, from the day one in San Diego our club had
so much life, clubhouse, dugout, no matter the
score or circumstances. It was really fun to be
around this group. They were so determined. And
as we got into it, I actually started getting
concerned because they were wanting it so much I
didn't want them to be disappointed and they're
Just joining the rare air with Sparky
being the only managers with World Series in
both leagues, what does it mean for the city, 24
years since the last time?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, I said it
once and I'll say it again, I have such a respect and
affection for Sparky that I believe he's one of the
greatest, not just managers, but baseball men,
ambassadors for the game, it's such a great honor,
he should really have this alone.
But I just saw Bob Gibson. When you're
around here, especially if you're around here for a
while, I just don't feel you can join the club unless
you can say you won a World Series. Now we can
say this group can join the club.
With all the adversity your club went
through this year, was there ever a time doubt
crept in that this wasn't going to be possible,
this kind of success?
TONY LA RUSSA: How about daily?
And a couple of times a day during the game. You
operate with -- you kind of prepare for the worst
and you hope for the best.
So there were many times that things just
didn't seem like they were falling into place for us.
But from the first game in San Diego and there was
our center fielder and our shortstop and our club
got a lift, no doubt about it. This guy, right here
(indicating.) The big guy with the trophy.
During the off-season, somebody
was asking about trades, you're going to do
this, you're going to do that, I remember you
saying something to the effect that, I don't
know, I don't really care, all I know is my
shortstop next year is David Eckstein. I
remember bringing that up to you, David,
during Spring Training. Just talk to about what
you meant when you said that, and maybe
David has something to say about that, too.
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, part of why we
thought -- I'll get to David in a second, part of why
we thought we could compete and why we knew
what would happen in October. You look around
at our club, you look at the catcher, the first
baseman, the two guys who played second, the
shortstop, the third baseman, the center fielder, left
and right, you know, we have a really good club,
and they're really into trying to win this thing, but
whenever David is playing there is absolutely no
doubt that our club responds to how hard he plays
and how committed he is to doing whatever the
team needs. I mean, he is a wonderful leader on
and off the field and not just quietly, but he can
also be very vocal.
So to me he's our shortstop. And believe
me, he's more than just guts, he's a very good
Continuing along on Eck, you were
hurt, most of the September, and there was
some doubt that you would be ready for the
playoffs. Tony, when did you know that he was
really going to be there for the start of the
TONY LA RUSSA: He really disappointed
me only one time in two years, and that is -- he's
always very honest, very straight forward, in fact
when his dad Whitey hears this, he's probably
going to lecture him on this, so he gives you the
information. And there was one time there in
October where his shoulder was biting and he was
less than his best, and I think he used the words,
"fine, no restrictions." And wasn't totally honest.
So he should apologize for that.
But overall, he's such a gamer, he plays
and he got better and better and look what he did
in the World Series.
Tony, before the game you talked
about 1983 and how you knew you had a good
baseball team that year. This many years later,
the appreciation, and the evolution personally
of if you think back quickly as to the guy you
were then. I know consistency is a word the
Jim Edmonds used for you, but you do evolve.
Is this one of the moments you feel like it's
more appreciated somewhat?
TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, I think it's so
consistent because every place I've been we've
had players that contend. It happens every place.
I've never been in a bad situation. But you dream
about, little corny, but this is true, especially since
the fans are in, you dream about if you win the
World Series, is it possible to win at home.
Because I've seen the home team, the celebration
going back to the '90s. I thought, wow, winning is
great, but to win at home, to just experience what
we just experienced on the field and what we just
experienced and a daggone parade. And that's
something a lot of us have never had, including
We couldn't see from the press box,
who was it that picked you up and gave you
that bear hug? Have you ever gotten one like
that before? And do you mind sharing what
you and the player said?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, it was, I think it
was a combination of Izzy and Carp. And that
ninth inning they were distracted, because they
kept looking over at me, I could see them out of the
corner of my eye, they kept looking to see if I was
going to, whatever, break down or whatever. And I
kept trying -- normally, because we had a very
serious situation getting three outs. And I kept
looking at him, I knew they were looking, I could
see them looking, you know, you getting a little
edgy there. So we finally got the last out and it
was Izzy and Carp.
Was there someone on the field?
TONY LA RUSSA: Albert was one. I
lifted David. But there was several. This group of
guys, I'll never forget. This is an accomplishment,
they'll be friends forever. They share something
very, very special, very rare.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.