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Tony La Russa to headline Boys & Girls Clubs fundraiser

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield is bringing one of baseball’s big names to town for the 16th annual Steak & Steak Dinner and Charity Auction in April.
 
Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will be the featured speaker for the annual fundraiser, Boys & Girls Clubs officials announced yesterday.
 
La Russa, perhaps best known for managing the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and the Cardinals, posted 1,408 wins and 1,182 losses with the St. Louis team, making him the winningest coach in its history.
 
According to a Boys & Girls Clubs news release, La Russa ranks No. 3 in victories in major league history, with 2,728, trailing Connie Mack and John McGraw. He announced his retirement just days after the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series.
 
During his career, he managed 5,097 games, joining Mack as the second coach or manager to reach 5,000 games. And in 2006, he became the first manager to win the World Series with both American and National League teams.
 
La Russa is the latest sports figure to headline the Steak & Steak dinner, with previous speakers including Drew Brees, Mike Ditka, Jackie Joyner Kersee, and, in 2011, cyclist Lance Armstrong.
 
Historically, the speakers have been chosen at significant times in their careers, said Chris Whitehead, Boys & Girls Clubs director of resource development.

“We just try to go after winners,” Whitehead said. “We’ve always had a sports theme. We’re not closed to doing something different, but sports have always worked fairly well for us."
 
While there is a national Boys & Girls Clubs Steak & Steak event, Whitehead said the local organization is responsible for lining up its own guest speakers, which has gotten easier during the event’s 16-year history.

“Over the course of time, you kind of learn and know who to talk to, and go about doing it. I went straight to a source that I knew, and they took care of it,” Whitehead said of lining up La Russa.
 
Whitehead said there is a cost to Boys & Girls Clubs for bringing La Russa to town, but he declined to disclose the amount. The event is a key fundraiser for the organization, bridging the gap between the $25 fee members pay each semester for after-school programs and the actual costs of putting on those programs. In 2011, the Steak & Steak dinner raised more than $200,000.
 
The 2012 Steak & Steak Dinner will be held at 7 p.m. April 10 at the University Plaza Convention Center, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway. Dinner tickets, which are $200 apiece, will go on sale March 1, Whitehead said.[[In-content Ad]]

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