It wasn't too long ago that Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was asked about St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, who announced his retirement this morning. Gibson and LaRussa go back to their times in the minor leagues in the late 1970s and even though Gibson didn't present the two competitors as buddy-buddy, there was a respect there.â†µ
"He's got staying power not because he's not good, he's very good," said Gibson during an April 11 press conference prior to a game against the Cardinals. "He's very well respected. It's good to have guys like Tony in the game of baseball."â†µ
The game no longer has LaRussa as he retires with 2,728 victories over 33 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's and the Cardinals. But one of his losses came at the hands of Gibson on the biggest stage in baseball.â†µ
Gibson's iconic home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 1 of the 1988 World Series was against LaRussa's A's. The Dodgers would go on to win the series, forever linking the two men together in history.â†µ
Gibson would only get a season and a half to manage against his longtime adversary, but even Gibson, in all his straight-laced demeanor, would tip his hat to one of the greatest managing careers in baseball history.â†µ
"He's very intense, very prepared," Gibson said. "He certainly sets the standard for what we want to accomplish, as a player and a manager."