One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season (Anglais) Broché – 14 mai 2013
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Descriptions du produit
Présentation de l'éditeur
One Last Strike by legendary baseball manager Tony La Russa is a thrilling sports comeback story. La Russa, the winner of four Manager of the Year awards—who led his teams to six Pennant wins and three World Series crowns—chronicles one of the most exciting end-of-season runs in baseball history, revealing with fascinating behind-the-scenes details how, under his expert management, the St. Louis Cardinals emerged victorious in the 2011 World Series despite countless injuries, mishaps, and roadblocks along the way. Talking candidly about the remarkable season—and his All-Star players like Albert Pujols and David Freese—the recently retired La Russa celebrates his fifty years in baseball, his team’s amazing recovery from 10 ½ games back, and one final, unforgettable championship in a book that no true baseball fan will want to miss.
Quatrième de couverture
After thirty-three seasons managing in Major League Baseball, Tony La Russa thought he had seen it all—until the 2011 Cardinals. Down ten and a half games with little more than a month to play, the Cardinals had long been ruled out as serious postseason contenders. Yet in the face of those steep odds, this team mounted one of the most dramatic and impressive comebacks in baseball history, making the playoffs on the night of the final game of the season and going on to win the World Series despite being down to their last strike—twice.
Now La Russa gives the inside story behind this astonishing comeback and his extraordinary career. One Last Strike is a passionate, insightful look at our national pastime that takes you behind the scenes of the comeback no one thought possible and inside the mind of one of the game's greatest managers.
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Détails sur le produit
Commentaires en ligne
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Baseball fans everywhere know what happened. La Russa tells us he ignored the sites as he "was more concerned with the basics of maintaining our hard-earned self-respect and respect from others...."
From most, this could sound like just one of many cliches. With superb writing from Hall of Fame sportswriter Rick Hummel, nothing in this wonderful book sounds trite. To the contrary, the stories are incredibly informative and inspiring--and timeless in nature.
La Russa opens with the end of a disappointing 2010. He almost retired. When player-leaders came up to him and said things had gotten too loose in clubhouse, La Russa felt he had lost his ability to instill constant "effort and execution"--the "Cardinal way." He had won World Series in both leagues and already was a certain Hall of Famer. But always, he was a fierce competitor. he couldn't depart after a season like 2010. He would leave after one more best shot.
He decides early on that it will be his final season and tells only his family and the owners. He even holds off telling his closest confidant, Dave Duncan, long-time chief aide, as he worries about Mrs. Duncan's illness.
His secret compartmentalized, from spring training through perhaps the most thrilling World Series ever, La Russa leads and motivates. Thanks to fresh writing, good memory (it helps that La Russa is so bright!) and insightful dialogue, the book reads smooth as silk. Throughout, the writers flash back to La Russa's trials and tribulations as a player and young manager. Experience truly matters. So does a thorough understanding of human nature; what motivates people.
One doesn't have to be a Cardinals or La Russa fan to enjoy this book immensely. The values, skills, acquired wisdom, travails and triumphs, transcend baseball and offer many life lessons. It doesn't pretend to be a great book on pure skills and training (see George Will's terrific "Men At Work"); it's not a prize-winning writer's enchanting take on a snapshot of great baseball (see David Halberstam's "Summer of '49" and "October 1964"); not as satisfying microscopically as Buzz Bissinger's "Three Nights in August" (highly recommend one read the latter for more on La Russa and "the Cardinal way"); or, as revelatory (for the times) as "Ball Four."
Instead, La Russa and Hummel show us an extraordinary life in baseball. On its own merits, this book deserves a spot among those other greats noted above.
...another big plus, at least in the hard-cover: lots of good color photos
La Russa decided during the 2011 campaign that it would be his last as a field leader. As with many of his generation, the demands of the game, both in terms of production and handling the younger and more expensive players, started to take their toll on the enjoyment of the profession for the 67-year-old. And even though he couldn't have predicted it at the time, what better way to go out than on top? La Russa directed the Cardinals to a thrilling pennant race, as the subtitle indicates, and defeated the Texas Rangers for the World Championship.
Aided by Rick Hummel, an award-winning journalist who spent four decades with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, La Russa lets fans into the secret world of managing, with its acid-churning decisions, thought processes, and personnel (and personal) issues. They guide readers over the last few months of the season --- with mere passing references to La Russa's years as a player and manager of the A's and White Sox --- as the Cardinals clawed their way back from a deep deficit and unexpectedly beat what was considered a superior team in the Series.
Cards fans who have an intimate knowledge of the players will no doubt consider ONE LAST STRIKE an essential part of their baseball library, as will those who are interested in a manager's mental manipulations, which have to take into consideration who's hot and who's not, both on your team and your opponent's. Then there are the work-arounds when it comes to who's injured physically or who's having a tough time mentally (La Russa's long-time coach and friend Dave Duncan was going through family health issues), which the authors use to show that these are human beings and not athletic robots.
La Russa is all business. You won't find any locker room gossip or even derogatory remarks about his charges, although you know there has to have been some disagreements along the way. Just about everyone in his eyes deserves the benefit of the doubt, leading to ho-hum descriptions that Player A really knows how to play the game of baseball or Player B is a true major leaguer. That might be a disappointment to those who really want the dirt (La Russa even glosses over the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs).
Another potential problem is that La Russa is a craftsperson, and as such loves to talk about his work as if he was in the presence of other craftspeople. A long-used "baseballism" is that the worst players make the best managers because they spend so much time on the bench that they can become adept students of the game. Some of the narrative borders on jargon (an appendix includes photos of various paperwork that would give the code-breakers of World War II fits). Of course, this is completely comprehensible to La Russa's peers and uber-fans, but a mystery and perhaps a bit off-putting to the casual reader.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan