St. Louis -- Tony La Russa waited until after the championship parade and then called a team meeting with his players.
"We didn't know what to expect," said pitcher Chris Carpenter, who got the win in Game 7 of the World Series against Texas on Friday night.
"I think we all figured it was just going to be like, 'That a way, guys. Great year. Way to battle!' Instead, he dropped that on us. I think everybody was caught off-guard."
And with that, La Russa, 67, said goodbye to baseball and became the first manager to retire immediately after leading his team to a Series title - the third of his career.
"I think this just feels like it's time to end it," La Russa said at a news conference Monday. "When I look in the mirror, I know I'd come back for the wrong reasons, and I didn't want to do that."
La Russa said he told general manager John Mozeliak of his decision in August - before the Cards rallied from a 10 1/2-game deficit in the NL wild-card race, then knocked off Philadelphia and Milwaukee in the playoffs.
They won the seven-game Series after twice being a strike away from elimination in Game 6.
"I tip my hat to him. He's had a great career. What a way to go out," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
The player meeting Sunday after the parade was short and emotional.
"Some grown men cried," La Russa said, joking that, "I kind of liked that because they made me cry a few times."
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