Weeks after the St. Louis Blues hired new head coach Ken Hitchcock, the St. Louis Cardinals ended their search for a new manager and head coach, as well. Officially announced on Nov. 14, former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny will be the ballclub’s manager for the 2012 season. Matheny was previously an instructor and adviser for the Cardinals during spring training. At 41, he is currently the youngest active manager in the major leagues. Matheny will have some massive shoes to fill, and The Journal hopes he can bring the same success and class to the Cardinals as his predecessor.
In his five seasons with the Cardinals, Matheny became a household name for Cardinal fans and is considered by many to be one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time. The four-time Gold Glove recipient has some tough work ahead, taking over for former manager and most likely future hall of famer Tony LaRussa. There is a lack of management experience with this hiring. While Matheny may be a fantastic family man and played his position well, this is his first coaching gig. And it’s a big one. Coaching the second most successful franchise in MLB history is no small order.
Several other candidates were passed on for this job, including two-time World Series winner and former manager of the Boston Red Sox Terry Francona, Chicago Cubs hall of famer Ryne Sandberg, and current Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo. Matheny may have also been an inexpensive choice among the applicants. While he wowed those who interviewed him, it may have been an attempt to save more money to re-sign Albert Pujols (that itself is an issue which could be covered in pages of opinion by sports writers and fans alike).
The Journal would like to remind readers that Webster University has its own set of coaches and managers for each team, and they are generally excellent examples of qualified professonalism. The Gorloks have award-winning coaches including several who have won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year. Mary Graf of volleyball and Marty Todt of soccer have both been honored in their respective fields.
In between cheering on the Cardinals, Blues and Rams, take some time to attend a Webster event and cheer on the Gorloks, whether it’s basketball, soccer, volleyball or baseball. Many of our teams reached the playoffs this season, and many seem poised to make runs this winter, spring and beyond. Welcome to the position of St. Louis Cardinals’ manager, Mike Matheny. Your offseason will be brief, and the Pujols story will surely drown out most of the team-building. But you’ve got the job, the front office decided to give the new guy a chance. We’ll be waiting for spring while supporting the Rams, Blues and Gorloks. We’ll be watching, and we’ll be cheering.