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Remembering Tony La Russa

Update from

The Athletics are willing to listen to trade offers for any player except Jemile Weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Read more.

Good morning, and Happy Friday, Athletics Nation! I hope everyone is well. I'm postponing a real look at 2012 (I have a nagging suspicion that it's not going to be oh-so-different from 2011), so I thought we'd play in the past this morning. Hardball Times just published a Tony La Russa career highlights piece, with a timeline of his career. It is truly the story of five decades of baseball; spanning a ten-year playing career (beginning with the Kansas City A's) and nearly four decades of baseball management.

Obviously, I grew up with Tony La Russa managing the Oakland A's (1986-1995). I found baseball, fell in love with the A's, and became a die-hard fan with La Russa at the helm, so I have many nostalgic memories that remain intact, despite the tarnish that would come in later years.

Some memories will never fade.

Oct. 18, 1988: World Series Game Three: Though largely forgotten, the A’s win Game Three of the World Series on a walk-off home run by Mark McGwire, 2-1. Thus, the 1988 Fall Classic becomes the first postseason series to feature two walk-off home runs. It’s the only time one of La Russa’s four 100-win teams ever win a World Series game. The A’s lose the Series two games later, though.


July 29, 1989: While facing a young Randy Johnson of the Mariners, the A’s steals eight bases. Five steals come from Rickey Henderson, his personal best. Henderson gets his steals despite zero hits on the day. (He walks four times).

and, of course,

Oct. 17, 1989: World Series Game Three: What’s probably the most boring postseason in recent decades receives a jolt in the worst possible way. Just before Game Three between the A’s and Giants begins, an earthquake rocks the Bay Area. The game will be played ten days later, and the A’s sweep the Series for La Russa’s first world title.

I couldn't even read through the 1992 timeline. That year hurt me far worse than the shot of 1988 ever could. That's the difference between me being 16 years old and 12, I suppose.

So, back to the good old days. What was your favorite memory of the A's under La Russa? How did you feel about him then, and how do you feel about him now?