ST. LOUIS - Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa might wear his final big league uniform in the city where he wore his first.
Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that the recently retired La Russa will manage the National League All-Star team this July in Kansas City. La Russa, who retired three days after the Cardinals won the World Series, made his Major League debut as a player with the Kansas City As in 1963.
The National League and American League managers for the All-Star Game go to the managers of the two league champions the previous year. But with La Russa retiring after the season, it was unclear who would manage the N.L. team at the 2012 game.
Tony earned this opportunity with the remarkable run that the Cardinals completed last October, and I am delighted that he shared my enthusiasm about him staying in this role, Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
The All-Star Game celebrates all the best of our game, and it is very appropriate that we will have the chance to celebrate one of the greatest managerial careers of all-time as a part of our festivities.
La Russa will be the second retired manager to manage an All-Star team. Hall of Fame manager John McGraw retired after the 1932 season and managed the National League in the first All-Star Game in 1933.
It will be the sixth All-Star managing assignment for La Russa, tying him with Joe Torre and putting him behind Hall of Famers Casey Stengel (10), Walter Alston (9) and Joe McCarthy (7).
La Russa previously managed the American League All-Star team in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and the National League squad in 2005 and 2007.
The 67-year-old La Russa managed 33 years in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland As and Cardinals. He led the Cardinals three National League pennants and two World Series titles during his 16-year tenure in St. Louis.
La Russa appeared in 34 games with the Kansas City As in 1963 at age 18. He went on to play parts of six seasons in the big leagues, hitting just .199 in 176 at-bats for the As, Braves and Cubs.
He last appeared in the big leagues as a player in 1973 and began his managing career with the White Sox in 1979.
La Russa will work with Major League Baseball to decide on a coaching staff, which will be announced closer to the July 10 All-Star Game.