April 10, 2024 6:30 pm

An Evening with MLB Manager Tony La Russa: Elon University School of Law

“Lessons on Leadership from the Big Leagues”
Featuring MLB Manager Tony La Russa

One of the winningest managers in the history of Major League Baseball comes to Greensboro on April 10 for an Elon University School of Law Distinguished Leadership Lecture presented by The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, part of the 2023-2024 Elon University Speaker Series in partnership with WUNC.

While there is no cost and tickets are not required, prospective guests are encouraged to let Elon Law know of plans to attend by RSVPing here or by calling 336.279.9200 during normal business hours. For large group information, contact Elon Law Events Coordinator Delia Rhodes at [email protected].

The Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series presented by The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation is an integral part of Elon Law’s commitment to learning, lawyering and leadership. Endowed through a generous gift from The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greensboro, N.C., the series brings accomplished leaders from a variety of disciplines to Elon University to share their experiences and perspectives with students and faculty.

About Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa’s professional career and personal commitments have focused on a passion for baseball, an understanding of organizational leadership, American patriotism, and community connections with an emphasis on the impact and welfare of companion animals.

La Russa’s baseball Hall of Fame accomplishments include:

  • Second all-time in career regular season (2,884) and postseason (70) wins
  • Three World Series championships (1989, 2006, and 2011)
  • Six league championships and 15 postseason appearances
  • A 4-2 record in All-Star games
  • Second manager to win a World Series in each league and win three consecutive division titles in each league
  • First manager to win multiple pennants in both leagues
  • Four Manager of the Year awards

Cherished among his personal and team wins are the countless individual awards celebrating excellence that were bestowed upon his players: MVPs, Cy Youngs, Golden Gloves and Rookies of the Year, all of which reflect a leadership style that fostered family-like team cultures.

La Russa’s professional baseball career started in 1963 with the Kansas City A’s when he became Major League Baseball’s first 18-year-old shortstop to start a game. His remaining 15 years as a player, often interrupted by injuries, were spent at the minor league level with occasional major league stops.

The reluctance to end his career proved a passion for the game that set the stage for his future. On August 4, 1979, at only 34 years old, La Russa was promoted from a managerial role in the minor leagues to manage the Chicago White Sox. It was the start of a remarkable run that included leadership roles with the Oakland A’s and the St. Louis Cardinals that ended in 2011 following his third World Series Championship.

La Russa’s retirement from managing allowed him to embrace major league opportunities off the field. He soon accepted special assignments for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (2012-2014) and front office responsibilities with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-2017), the Boston Red Sox (2018-2019), and the Los Angeles Angels (2020). La Russa returned to manage the Chicago White Sox in 2021, and by leading Chicago that year to a Central Division championship, he became the first person to ever manage a team into postseason play in five separate decades.

La Russa’s 2014 induction speech into the National Baseball Hall of Fame cited the role of organizational advantages, the leadership lessons learned from mentors, the influence of players’ competitive efforts, and the importance of coaching staff expertise.

Outside of baseball, La Russa and his family were inspired by team owners to support charitable causes and communities, often promoting educational initiatives for children, and providing homes for animals at risk of being destroyed. An organization they founded served for nearly 30 years as a national model for animal rescues and adoptions. More recently, La Russa has concentrated on assisting military veterans by matching them with emotional support and service dogs and providing medical care for the life of the companion animal.

La Russa’s decision to manage baseball teams meant postponing a possible legal career. In the off seasons during his playing career, La Russa earned an industrial management degree from the University of South Florida and, in 1978, a Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1979 where he remains an inactive member.