Family Feud In St. Lou Ozzie Smith Tony Larussa Wage War

By
Updated: May 24, 2006

FAMILY FEUD IN ST. LOU OZZIE SMITH TONY LARUSSA WAGING WAR

THE GREAT OZZIE SMITH

Forget Albert Pujols

( just kidding )

There is a War

going on here

It dates all the way back to 1996, Smith’s last year playing when brand new Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa did the unthinkable in Ozzie Smith’s view he replaced the Fading Legend at ShortStop with a young player Royce Clayton now 15 season veteran long gone from St. Louis who toils in the Infield for the Washington Nationals these days.

What has brought this Feud back to the forefront was an interview this past Sunday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in which Smith says pointedly he has no interest in participating in Cardinals activities least of all any kind of coaching responsibilities as long as LaRussa remains the Manager in St. Louis.

To which LaRussa replied

he was withdrawing any

invitations he may have made

to Ozzie Smith and he

LaRussa would not even

be seen in Smith’s presence

” Ozzie Smith is not welcome ”

To which Smith replied ……

“At some future point, when things change, when management changes, I’m more than willing to come back because it’s where I belong. I know it’s where I belong. That time will come. When it does, I’ll welcome it with open arms.

Back to LaRussa …

“When my time is up, they can welcome him with open arms, but I don’t want to be anywhere that he is. I won’t ever be around when he’s around. … I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”

While Tony LaRussa now 60 is impressive for managing in the Majors continuously since 1979 when he was all of 34 managing 3 teams first the Chicago White Sox for 7 full and 2 partial season, then Oakland for 8 full and one partial season, and now the St. Louis Cardinals, 10 full season and in his 11 now, finishing 1st in the NL Central Division 5 of those 10 years, and firmly in 1st Place again this season, LaRussa is not in the Hall of Fame yet but likely will be later as a Manager of Distinction.

When and if he gets there

LaRussa will have to Share

the Hall with nemesis

Ozzie Smith

Because Ozzie now 51 has been there since 2002 elected with 433 of 472 possible Ballots or almost 92% of votes cast. His Hall of Fame Plaque says it all beginning by labeling him “Ozzie” The Wizard, and here is what it says all in capital letters …

REVOLUTIONIZED DEFENSIVE PLAY AT SHORTSTOP WITH HIS ACROBATIC FIELDING AND ARTISTIC TURNING OF DOUBLE PLAYS. THE 13-TIME GOLD GLOVE WINNER SET SIX MAJOR LEAGUE FIELDING RECORDS AMONG SHORTSTOPS, INCLUDING MOST ASSISTS, DOUBLE PLAYS AND CHANCES ACCEPTED. AN EFFECTIVE OFFENSIVE PLAYER, HE ACCUMULATED 2,460 HITS AND STOLE 580 BASES. NAMED TO 15 ALL-STAR TEAMS. HIS RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PERFECTION HELPED LEAD THE CARDINALS TO THREE WORLD SERIES, INCLUDING A 1982 CHAMPIONSHIP. HIS CONGENIAL PERSONALITY, CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONALISM AND TRADEMARK BACK FLIP MADE “THE WIZARD” A FAN FAVORITE.

You won’t find too many

more impressive Plaques

in Cooperstown

But neither Ozzie Smith’s nor Tony LaRussa’s impressive Credentials nor either of their strong ties to the St. Louis Cardinals and Baseball, is enough to have them put aside their Feud as it has gone in the opposite direction Escalating.

It’s too Bad but

it’s the Human Condition

ever present and working

which Trumps

Everything else

Play Ball !!

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box ……. blackbox@blackathlete.net

BEING INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME