The Peoria Chiefs have announced that three-time World Series champion and Baseball Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa will be the VIP guest at Dozer Park, on Saturday, May 5 as the Chiefs host South Bend. The Chiefs and Walter G. Jacob Foundation have partnered together to bring LaRussa to Peoria in a fundraiser that will benefit the local non-profit St. Jude Rides. LaRussa will throw out a ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs on the concourse. The May 5 game also includes previously announced promotions of Cinco de Mayo Day, Kentucky Derby Day and post-game Fireworks.
Fans wishing to hear LaRussa speak in a Q & A in the right field party area can purchase a $50 ticket that includes the Home Run Buffet and a ticket to the game. LaRussa will speak in right field from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the Q & A and the buffet will run for 90 minutes starting at 6:00. Tickets for the right-field event and regular tickets for the game are available on the Chiefs website at www.peoriachiefs.com or at the Dozer Park Box Office which is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
LaRussa will throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game and will sign autographs on the concourse from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Autographs are $59 for one item and the proceeds for the night benefit the St. Jude Rides.
“We are very excited about this event which brings one of the greatest managers in baseball history and a Cardinals legend to Dozer Park in May,” said Chiefs General Manager Jason Mott. “Cardinals fans and Central Illinois baseball fans alike have an opportunity to interact and get an autograph from a Hall of Famer and raise money for a great cause at the same time.”
A four-time Manager of the Year and one of only two managers to win the World Series in both leagues, LaRussa was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 after receiving 100% of the votes from the Expansion Era Committee. When he retired after the 2011 World Series, LaRussa became the first manager to retire the same season after winning a title. He is the only manager in MLB history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and his 2728 victories rank third all-time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.
LaRussa managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 1996-2011 winning two World Series championships and finishing with a record of 1408-1182 in the regular season and 50-42 in the playoffs. Under his leadership the Cardinals made the playoffs nine times in 16 seasons and they played in the NLCS seven times, including three straight from 2004-06. LaRussa’s Cardinals teams won at least 90 games on seven occasions including 100 in 2005 and 105 in 2004. LaRussa was named the National League Manager of the Year in 2002 making him the second skipper to win the award in both leagues and the first to win the award four times. LaRussa’s #10 has been retired by the Cardinals and he was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014 as part of the inaugural class
Prior to joining the Cardinals, LaRussa led the Oakland A’s from mid 1986-1995 with four playoff appearances from 1988-82. After winning 104 games, Oakland fell in the 1988 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The won 99 games in 1989 and swept the San Francisco Giants in a World Series that was interrupted by the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake prior to Game 3. In 1990 the A’s won 103 games but lost in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. While with Oakland, LaRussa was named American League Manager of the Year in 1988 and 1992.
LaRussa began his managerial career in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox as he took over for the final 54 games. He led the South Siders to their first playoff appearance since 1959 with an AL West Division title and a 99-63 record in 1983. That success earned LaRussa his first AL Manager of the Year award.
LaRussa managed in the Minor Leagues as well as he helmed the Double-A Knoxville Sox in 1978 and the Triple-A Iowa Oaks to start the 1979 season. Although he didn’t play in the Midwest League, LaRussa played parts of 15 seasons in the Minor Leagues with the A’s, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Cubs and Cardinals organizations. He broke into the Major Leagues for 34 games with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963 and returned to the Majors in Oakland in 1968. His final MLB appearance as a player came in 1973 with the Cubs.
A native of Tampa, Florida and a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law, LaRussa and his wife Elaine are founders of Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, California.