La Russa will be honored on Friday, June 22, of race weekend at the Children's Champions Grand Marshal's Banquet at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The gala is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. He will also take part in pre-race activities on Sunday, June 24, and participate in the official command of, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines."
La Russa, who still calls the Bay Area home, posted three World Series victories during his 33-year managerial career, one coming with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and two with the St. Louis Cardinals, most recently in 2011. His other world championship with the Cardinals came in 2006. He retired after the 2011 season.
Four times he was named Manager of the Year, three times in the American League and he posted 2,278 victories as a manager, third all-time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. Overall, he managed 5,097 games, joining Mack as the second manager or coach in American sports history to reach 5,000 games.
"I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend," La Russa said. “Competition in sports has been at the heart of my professional life. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is an outstanding example of competition and I'm excited to be able to observe it up close and personal at Infineon Raceway. I'm also looking forward to raising awareness about the important ‘rescue’ work that ARF provides!"
While with the Athletics, La Russa guided the team to three consecutive American League pennants and the one World Series title in 1989. In 1988, led the Athletics to a 104-58 record.
In addition to baseball, La Russa, along with his wife, Elaine, founded the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), based in Walnut Creek (Calif.), in 1991. ARF saves dogs and cats that have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others’ lives. ARF strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care. To find out more about ARF or to get involved, visit arf.net.
"Tony's a true Northern California hero. Not only has he brought championships to the Bay Area, he has been a tireless champion on behalf of lost and abandoned pets…including our dog Grover. Tony will be a terrific grand marshal and great addition to the race weekend," said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway.