Mike Matheny was named the Cardinals new manager Sunday evening and was formally introduced as the 49th manager in club history Monday morning. The decision came less than two weeks after Tony La Russa retired after 16 seasons with the Cardinals.
Matheny was the long shot of this group. Also interviewing were Jose Oquendo, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Ryne Sandberg, Joe McEwing and Chris Maloney. All of the other candidates had either Major League coaching or managing experience, or Minor League managing experience.
What Matheny does have is respect. He served as a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak, and as an instructor in Spring Training, and is highly regarded personally by teammates, coaches and the front office. Mozeliak said he talked with key players and the feedback was so positive that hiring Matheny was not only the logical choice, but the right choice.
Matheny hit .239 with a .293 on-base percentage, a .344 slugging percentage and 67 home runs, but was regarded as one of, if not, the best defensive catcher in the game during his career.