"Tony leaves behind a legacy of success that will always be remembered as one of the most successful eras in Cardinals history," chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said at the announcement.
"I knew this day would come. I just hoped that it wouldn't."
La Russa said he told owner Bill DeWitt and the players Sunday evening of his decision. He said he actually made his decision to retire in August, and informed general manager John Mozeliak at the time.
"There isn't one (factor) that dominates (my decision)," La Russa said at the news conference. "They all just come together telling you your time is over.