As a player, La Russa made his major league debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. After a shoulder injury the following off-season, he spent most of his career in the minor leagues. He spent parts of five other seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. His final big-league appearance came in 1973 with the Cubs, but he continued to play in the minor leagues until 1977. Following the end of his playing career, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University College of Law.
La Russa was named manager of the White Sox in the middle of the 1979 season. In 1983 he led the White Sox to an American League West division title; however, the White Sox fired him during the 1986 season. Less than three weeks later, La Russa was hired to manage the Athletics, and led the team to three American League championships and the 1989 World Series title. He left Oakland following the 1995 season to manage the Cardinals, and led the team to three National League championships and the 2006 and 2011 World Series titles. On October 31, 2011, he announced his retirement three days after winning the 2011 title and after 33 seasons as a major league manager.
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