Vegetarian for over 30 years, Tony LaRussa has just led the St. Louis Cardinals to a big World Series win. The 67-year-old St. Louis Cardinals manager, fresh off winning his third world championship ring, announced his retirement on Monday after 33 seasons of managing in the major leagues, the last 16 with the Cardinals, who wrapped up the World Series triumph over the Texas Rangers on Friday. La Russa began his Major League Baseball career as an infielder in the majors with the Athletics, Braves and Cubs from 1963 to 1973. He began his major league managing career in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox. LaRussa leaves the game with 2,728 career wins, third on the all-time list and only 35 shy of John McGraw.
No-one doubts this devoted vegetarian is headed for the baseball Hall of Fame – he’s already made our vegetarian Hall of Fame. LaRussa began his journey to the vegetarian way after learning about how animals were being treated, “Back in 1977, when I was a player-coach, I came back from a road trip, and my wife was watching a PBS documentary on how veal comes to the table. As soon as I walked in the door, she said, “We will never eat veal again.” So that started it. Very soon after, all red meat disappeared from our plates, and the chicken and turkey, and then fish. Within a year to a year and a half, we were totally vegetarian.”
Tony and his wife, Elaine, founded the Animal Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit that provides services for abandoned animals, such as vet assistance and adoption. Now he’s part of another winning recipe: a line of all-natural vegetarian salad dressings and marinades, developed by close friends Bill and Catherine Dieterich and dubbed At-the-Plate. A portion of proceeds benefits the Animal Rescue Foundation.