Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ONE LAST STRIKE by Tony La Russa


Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season

by Tony La Russa with Rick Hummel

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-220738-8
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

With the assistance of St. Louis Post-Dispatch veteran baseball writer Hummel, former Major League Baseball manager La Russa dissects the game and his coaching style through the prism of the St. Louis Cardinals' improbable 2011 championship season.

Though he wasn’t a great player and spent most of his career in the minor leagues, La Russa found success with three different teams in both the American and National leagues and ended up as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball before his retirement after the 2011 season. This is the fiery baseball guru's pitch-by-pitch account of that final season and how he successfully convinced an underachieving squad that they could climb back in the standings and win it all. The author largely eschews the interpersonal dramas often associated with America's pastime, instead focusing on his winning coaching process. That means an almost inning-by-inning deconstruction of key contests throughout the 2011 campaign. The approach will be familiar to die-hard baseball fans, especially those who fill out the scorecards for each game, but the venerable skipper throws a change-up here and there, harkening back to previous winning seasons with the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland Athletics. However, those forays are brief and ultimately serve to underscore some point or issue pertaining to the 2011 season. La Russa does share some of his feelings about members of the press, most of whom he doesn’t care for. But here, once again, he doesn't dwell, only glossing over heated confrontations with annoying sportswriters before jumping headlong once more into the intricacies of managing the Cardinals to ultimate victory. 

A baseball exposé that keeps the focus squarely inside the ballpark.