|Former Cards manager Tony La Russa talks often with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. (US Presswire)|
For at least a day, Jim Harbaugh wasn’t the most accomplished coach at the San Francico 49ers facility Friday. That distinction belonged to Major League Baseball’s third-all time winningest manager, Tony La Russa.
La Russa and Harbaugh struck up a friendship three years ago when Harbaugh was at Stanford and La Russa managed the St. Louis Cardinals, and they’ve kept in touch ever since.
“We probably talk if not every week, every other week,” Harbaugh said. “And he follows our team closely, and he’s somebody that I routinely ask advice.”
Harbaugh said La Russa is the one handing out wisdom when the two speak.
“It’s been pretty much a one-way street. I’ve been the one doing the learning,” Harbaugh said. “And he’s been great.”
La Russa retired three days after guiding the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title in 2011 and spent 33 seasons as a manager in the big leagues.
The two nearly crossed paths in Chicago in the 1980s, but La Russa was fired by the Chicago White Sox in 1986, the year before the Bears drafted Harbaugh in the first round of the NFL Draft.
La Russa lives in nearby Alamo, Calif., and his Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) is headquartered in Walnut Creek.