Shortly after World Series champion Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announced his retirement Monday, Braves first base coach Terry Pendleton started appearing on lists as a potential replacement.
When reached Monday afternoon, Pendleton said he had not been contacted by the Cardinals. “I haven’t heard anything as of yet,” he said.
The former third baseman played his first seven major league seasons in St. Louis before signing with the Braves as a free agent in 1991.
Pendleton, who spent nine years as the Braves hitting coach before being reassigned to first base last year, has made it known he’d like to manage. He has interviewed for managing jobs with the Rays, Phillies and Nationals. He also turned down an interview opportunity with the Dodgers.
Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak told reporters Monday that previous major league managing experience was not a prerequisite.
Former Braves manager Bobby Cox said he was surprised Monday when he heard about La Russa’s retirement.
“It caught me off guard,” Cox said. “I never thought Tony would ever retire. He loves the game. I guess he felt like I did, that it was time to do it. He’s going to miss the competition, the action, hanging with the guys.”
Cox, 70, said he can understand wanting to give up the daily grind though, that it can wear you down. La Russa is 67.
“We can say it doesn’t all we want, but there’s a lot of stress, a lot of hours,” he said.
Cox finished fourth all-time in managerial wins when he retired after the 2010 season with 2,504. La Russa retires third all-time with 2,728, just 36 wins from passing John McGraw (2,763) in second place. Connie Mack is the all-time leader with 3,731 wins.
“He’s a Hall-of-Famer for sure,” Cox said. “He needs to start writing his speech.”
Cox managed against La Russa for 15 years in his time with the Cardinals – the two matched up in the 1996 NLCS with the Braves beating the Cardinals in seven games – and for four years with Toronto when La Russa was managing the Chicago White Sox.
“Tony was a professional in every way there is possible,” Cox said. “We had some great games. It was always fun to go into St. Louis. Tony and I have always gotten along really well.”