The Cardinals fired Mike Matheny just over a month ago. Since that time, Mike Shildt has acted as the interim manager. He’s done such a fine job over the last 39 games that the front office decided to end their manager search where it began. They announced Tuesday that Shildt has agreed to a three-year contract to be their 50th manager of all-time.
Mike Shildt history with the Cardinals
Mike Shildt now has 38 games under his belt as a Major League manager. However, he has been managing professionally for nine seasons.
Shildt got his first managing position with the Johnson City Cardinals in 2009. That year he led the team to a 37-30 record. In his next year, the team went 42-24 and won the Appalachian League Championship. He also earned the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Manager of the Year award that season. The next year the Johnson City team won their second consecutive championship, under Shildt, for the first time since 1976.
After winning back to back championships at the Single-A level, Mike was promoted to manage the Double-A Cardinals in 2012. He won his third straight championship that year, leading Springfield to its first-ever Texas League Championship. He managed the team for the following two seasons before again moving up, this time to manage the Triple-A squad.
Mike’s first year in Memphis the team posted a record of 73-71. Then, in 2016, they went 65-77. After that sesaon, with the big league club falling apart, Shildt was promoted to the big leagues as quality control coach and later the third base coach.
This year, with Jose Oquendo’s return to the coaching staff as the third base coach, Mike took over as the bench coach. That’s the position he held until Matheny was fired on July 14th and he took over as interim manager.
Managing the Cardinals
Since Mike Shildt took over as manager, along with a roster mixup, the Cardinals have been rolling. They’ve won 27 of 39 games and have gone 20-5 in August. The recent surge has put them back in the mix for the playoffs and prompted John Mozeliak and company to go ahead and make the decision to sign Shildt as their manager.
Was it the right move?
Like all decisions MLB teams make, this one has received it’s fair share of criticism. Most of it has come regarding the timing of the extension.
Had the Cardinals waited until the offseason, they might not have been able to retain Shildt. However, they would’ve been able to interview other potential candidates. They did talk to Oquendo about the position before signing Shildt, but he recommended Mike for the job.
Mozeliak discussed the timing of the hiring during the press conference, saying, “why now? It made sense to do it now. Everything is going well, and more importantly momentum is building behind our players. Having Mike Shildt as manager is a tremendous story. I hope the next chapter is even better.”
Shildt also spoke about taking on the role of manager, “this is not something I take lightly. I’m very grateful for my family. I grew up in a clubhouse around baseball. I got my ABCs of baseball at an early age.” He also gave credit for the recent success to the players, saying he had been given more than he deserved.
Time will tell whether the Cardinals made the right choice or not. For now, it looks like a good decision.
Featured Image by Jeff Roberson of the AP
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