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One Last Strike by Tony La Russa

“There’s no metric that can adequately measure the size of a guy’s heart.”

Once upon a time, the manager was king. He made the decisions. He was the general. The team was his soldiers. His coaches were his trusted lieutenants.

The days of the authoritarian baseball manager are gone. Blame it on sabremetrics. Blame it on free agency and the big business of baseball. No longer do billionaires give complete control of their millionaires to a single manager. More than ever, baseball has become a team sport, from the general manager down to the bat boy.

Tony La Russa was a game changer that brought baseball into a new age. He was the last of the influential captains but also the first of the highly intelligent diamond strategists. He was the link between the old school and the new school.

One Last Strike tells two amazing stories simultaneously. On the surface, La Russa recalls the improbable season (and post season) of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. On a deeper level, LaRussa reflects back on his amazing journey through baseball from a mediocre player to a naïve skipper to a humble veteran manager.

This is an amazing book written by a true baseball man. Managing a team is not science, it is an art. Keeping 25 prized athletes focused for 162 games is no easy task, but Tony La Russa did it with such ease and determination. If you are interested in the inner workings of a Hall of Fame manager’s brain, then this is the perfect book for you.