In news that's sure to matter to fans all over the midwest, the St. Louis Cardinals decided today to hire Matheny to replace baseball legend Tony LaRussa as their manager. Mike played for the Cards for a few seasons and was most recently a special adviser for the team. He was chosen over more experienced managers and coaches such as Terry Francona, plus Cubs legend and for some reason not new manager Ryne Sandberg. Despite Matheny's lack of experience, history shows that he has two factors in his favor: other first-time managers have gone on to have some success (see perennial asshole Ozzie Guillen) and former catchers, such as the very successful (and classier) Mike Scioscia, due to years of being field generals, tend to enjoy great managerial careers. Obviously that's my hope here, mainly because I'd love to see a Michigan Man succeed at this level, but also because I genuinely like the Cardinals thanks to their excellent franchise history and the fact that they're one of the best baseball towns period.
After being drafted by the Brewers (having spurned the apparently "standoffish" Jays years earlier) Mike went on to a solid MLB career. It was ultimately derailed by concussion-like symptoms, a hazard of the job, but he wasn't nicknamed "The Toughest Man Alive" for nothing--he couldn't really hit but his defensive prowess was almost unheard of. He won four Gold Gloves, but more impressively, he holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error in a career: 1565. He was truly a gifted defensive catcher and it's a shame his career was cut short and that he didn't get to enjoy either of St. Louis' World Series titles as a player, but at least he got to participate in one with the Cards in 2004.