About a year ago, I came across a photo of Tony La Russa in a Cubs uniform and knew I wanted to make that card immediately. I was pretty sure the "R" was capitalized, but I've seen his name spelled different ways in all seemingly official capacities. I was mostly concerned with the fact of whether there was a space betwen the "La" and the "Russa" or not.
Topps didn't seem to know:
Baseball Reference has him listed with no space although if you type in La Russa, it comes up:
ESPN and the Cardinals website have him listed with a space in a couple of the press releases I saw:
And Wikipedia (which means nothing with its multiple editor approach but makes it more confusing) is filled with both but leans heavily towards a space. The page even redirects from Tony LaRussa with no space:
So what was I to do? Well, I went directly to the source! I sent a note to the future Hall of Fame manager himself, posing my question. In about two months time, I received the following response:
For good measure, I put in a line for an autograph. I came across this again recently while putting some things in order. Now I really have to finish making that card and get it out to him!
For those wondering about La Russa's ties to the Cubs, he was traded by the Braves to the Cubs following the 1972 season. He made one appearance on April 6, 1973, as a pinch runner for Ron Santo, and scored the game winning run. He spent the rest of the season down in AAA Wichita (had a decent season) and then his contract was sold to the Pirates. He bounced around the minors between the Pirates, White Sox and Cardinals but never reached the MLB level again.