He's an ornery sonofabitch. He inflames the local sports-media corps and enrages John Q. Cardinals Fan. His grim intensity and rigid, anal-retentive approach to managing the game and his players has run some of the latter literally out of town (and, not inconceivably, into counseling). But while fans and analysts throughout the world may tend to undervalue, ignore or dismiss the contributions of individual St. Louis Cardinals players, from Yadier Molina to Chris Carpenter to Adam Wainwright to, yes, Albert Pujols, Tony La Russa is perhaps the only employee in the entire organization more admired by followers of baseball outside St. Louis than within. (OK, the same probably applies to Tony's sidekick Dave Duncan, the Redbirds' pitching coach and patron saint of washed-up, mediocre hurlers. But it ain't for no reason that some hardcore Cards followers refer to the tandem as "La Dunc.")
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