Now retired, La Russa got the better of that matchup, and likely, the two veteran skippers won't square off against each other again.
"It is what it is. He managed there a long time, but like I've always said, there's been a lot of games played since Babe Ruth died," Leyland said ahead of the three-game set between the Cards and Tigers that opens in Detroit on Tuesday. "God knows I love him dearly, but Tony decided to hang it up. The Cardinals moved on.
"Hopefully you make your mark in a positive way, and when it's time to go, you go. It'll be different though. It'll be a little strange, but that's the way it is."
Both teams have an off-day Monday. Tuesday's first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET at Comerica Park, with a defending Cy Young Award winner in the American League going for Detroit, Justin Verlander, and a potential winner in the National League this year, Lance Lynn, going for the Cardinals.
The off-day allowed Leyland to move up Verlander a day.
The Cards (34-32) just dropped two of three to the Royals. The Tigers (32-34), meanwhile, took two of three from the Rockies and have won four of their last five.
Finally, new Cards manager Mike Matheny will get his first crack at using the designated hitter. St. Louis has not played in an AL park before this series. Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday are among those who Matheny listed as probable DH candidates.
The Cards have six straight games with the DH, heading to Kansas City next.
"Just basically looking at how guys are feeling," Matheny said. "I think the time off defensively will still help in the long run."
Detroit has its own decisions to make at DH, as the Cardinals have three right-handers going in the series. If the Tigers start Delmon Young at DH like they did Friday and Saturday, they'll have left field open for left-handed swinging Quintin Berry, who went 5-for-5 in his start in left Sunday against Colorado.
Cardinals: Schumaker to join team in Detroit
Outfielder and second baseman Skip Schumaker (right hamstring strain) is expected to meet up with the big league team at some point during the Detroit series. He and Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) are both in the middle of rehab assignments with Triple-A Memphis.
Schumaker played nine innings at second base on Sunday and finished 0-for-4.
Tigers: Verlander's parents pen book
Richard and Kathy Verlander wrote in "Rocks Across the Pond" of their experiences raising Justin and his little brother, Ben, in hopes of helping parents help their kids find their talent and foster it without suffocating it.
"At the end of the day, the finished product for us became much more than [baseball], because what we realized was that it's really more about raising successful kids and parenting and philosophy," Richard said. "Justin really becomes more of the anecdote. We'll say we feel this way about a certain issue, and then we'll have a story that supports that. That's what we hope, that it sort of transcends baseball and has some meaning for kids and their parents."
The Tigers have continued to grow their club record for games without being shut out, now at 134, dating to July 17, 2011. The previous record was 110 games.