COOPERSTOWN, NY (July 26, 2014) - St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. announced today that the St. Louis Cardinals will name their next Cardinals Care Redbird Rookies field for Tony La Russa. DeWitt made the announcement this evening in Cooperstown at a team reception honoring La Russa in advance of his Hall of Fame induction on Sunday.
"Given your role in founding Cardinals Care, as well as your consistent support of our efforts to help children, we can think of no more fitting tribute to honor you than dedicating this field serving kids in need," DeWitt said. "Generations of St. Louis boys and girls who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to play the game of baseball will have the chance to play, learn and have fun on Tony La Russa Field."
Tony La Russa Field, Cardinals Care's 22nd youth ball field, will serve the children residing within the Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Complex in the Near Southside neighborhood of St. Louis just blocks from Busch Stadium. Located at the 12th & Park Recreation Center, the professionally designed field is the result of a six figure investment by Cardinals Care that includes a graded and irrigated playing field, two paved and covered dugouts, bleachers, fencing, and a state-of-the art solar powered scoreboard. The field will play an integral role in teaching Redbird Rookies participants the values of teamwork, integrity, self-esteem, and leadership.
La Russa, the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history, announced his retirement in October 2011 after a record 16 seasons as the team's manager and after guiding the Cardinals to their 11th World Championship. La Russa left the game ranked 3rd all-time in managerial wins (2,728) behind only John McGraw (2,763) and Connie Mack (3,731). La Russa, who was named the Cardinals 48th manager on October 23, 1995, guided the Cardinals to a franchise record 1,408 wins. He led the Cardinals to eight division titles (1996, 2000-02, 2004-06 & 2009), three National League pennants (2004, 2006 & 2011) and two World Championships (2006 & 2011). He ranks 1st on the Cardinals all-time games managed list with 2,491. La Russa, in 2011, became only the second manager to win two World Championships with the Cardinals, joining Billy Southworth (1942 & 1944). La Russa will be the eighth Cardinals Manager to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame when he is enshrined along with former Cardinals Manager Joe Torre and Braves Manager Bobby Cox on Sunday.
Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the organization to help children in our community - both on and off the baseball field. Since it was established in 1997, Cardinals Care has distributed nearly $20 million to support St. Louis area non-profit youth organizations and built 21 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods.
2014 marks the 11th year of Cardinals Care's innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year. Fans may join the conversation with #CardsCare, #TLRHOF and #HOFWKND.