COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - The eyes of Cardinal Nation are on Cooperstown, New York this weekend, where retired St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa will enter baseball's Hall of Fame Sunday.
On Saturday night in Cooperstown, the St. Louis Cardinals held a special reception for La Russa. His pitching coach, Dave Duncan, was on hand; his former general manager, Walt Jockety, was there; his Hall of Fame closer, Dennis Eckersley stopped by; and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bob Selig.
Selig admitted, when La Russa was managing against his Brewers, he didn't really like him.
"No, he scowled, and every time I looked in the dugout, there he was scowling. When I met him he was such a different person, I couldn't believe it," said Selig.
Earlier in the day, one of the great things about Hall of Fame weekend is the parade of legends, where the Hall of Famers come through town with thousands cheering them on, including Cardinals legends like Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, and Whitey Herzog.
But the weekend is about Tony La Russa.
"Everybody deserves it," said La Russa. "This is the ultimate. You can't do better than this, [I'll} try tomorrow to explain how I come to grips with understanding it."
"More than a manger to me. It's become, it's more than professional, it's personal, the friendship that we have. He's a quality human being beyond this baseball stuff," said Eckersley.
"I was just telling him, I cannot believe the number of people who are lining the streets here for this parade. It's amazing," said La Russa's wife, Elaine La Russa.
"He's a very cerebral manager. And you could watch the way his teams play, how much they respected how he went about his business," said Joe Torre.
Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt announced at the reception that the next field put out by Cardinals Care on the south side of St. Louis will be named Tony La Russa Field.