Mike Matheny was named the 49th manager in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history on November 14, 2011. Matheny, 42, will be entering his second season as a manager/coach at the professional level. He served as a Special Assistant in Player Development for the Cardinals prio rto his being named manager.
Last year,at age 41, Matheny became the youngest active manager in the majors and the youngest Cardinals manager since Jack Krol, who was also 41 years of age when he managed the team in 1978. Matheny has joined notables such as Red Schoendienst, Joe Torre, Ken Boyer, Frank Frisch and Rogers Hornsby amongst Cardinals players who later served as the team's manager.
In his first year at the helm, Matheny guided the Cardinals to the National League Championship round of the playoffs, having captured a wild card berth on the next-to-last day of the regular season. A wild card win at Atlanta and a dramatic Division Series win over the Washington Nationals sent his club to the NLCS, where the Cards fell to the San Francisco Giants in seven games. In doing so, Mike became the first rookie manager to lead the Cardinals to the postseason since Eddie Dyer led the Redbirds to a World Championship win over Boston in 1946. He joined his predecessor, Tony LaRussa, who was the last Cardinals manager to pilot the team to the playoffs in his first year with the club.
A veteran of 13 seasons in the majors, Matheny was drafted out of the University of Michigan by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 8th round of the 1991 draft. Matheny made his Major League debut with the Brewers in 1994 and spent five seasons (1994-98) with Milwaukee before signing a free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1999. Following his release by the Blue Jays, Matheny signed a free-agent contract with the Cardinals on December 16, 1999 and he went on to spend five seasons with the Cardinals from 2000-04,earnin gtrips to the post season in four of those five seasons, including a National League Championship in 2004. As a Cardinal, Matheny appeared in 611 games at catcher, logging 4,938.1 innings while committing just 14 errors.
The four-time (2000, 2003-05) Rawlings Gold Glove recipient holds the Major League catching record for consecutive errorless games(252) and for consecutive errorless chances(1,565). He posted a lifetime batting mark of .239 with 67 home runs and 443 RBI in 1,305 games played in a career that was cut short due to complications from repeated concussion. Matheny signed with San Francisco as a free-agent prior to the 2005 season and he spent two seasons with the Giants before playing his final game on May 31, 2006. In his first season with the Giants, Matheny set the team record for fielding pct.(.9988) by a catcher, came within two of the team mark(36) for doubles by a catcher and was voted by his teammates as the recipient of the "Willie MacAward"for being the most inspirational player on the team.
In 2002, Matheny served as an inspirational leader for the Cardinals, helping the team to cope with the shocking death of pitcher Darryl Kile while still reaching the National League Championship Series. Matheny was voted by his teammates as the first recipient of the "Darryl Kile Award" in 2003 - an award that goes annually to the Cardinals player who best demonstrates the qualities that Darryl brought to the clubhouse everyday; those of a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.
Matheny has been a tireless worker in the community, organizing and creating the "Catch-22" charity that donated tickets to Cardinals fans from 2002-04. In 2005, his group saw the opening of the "Catch 22 Miracle Field" at Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. The $650,000 project was designed and constructed to allow children of all abilities to experience the thrill of playing baseball, and is specially designed to accommodate athletes with physical and mental disabilities. The field incorporates a firm, rubber playing surface that is more forgiving and friendly for wheelchairs, walkers and children who may use braces, while dugouts provide room for wheelchairs to maneuver and wide concrete patios and ramps allow families to easily access both field and viewing areas. Funding for the field project was provided by "Catch 22 Foundation", which Mike created.
Matheny, born on September 22, 1970 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, graduated from Reynoldsburg High School in 1988,where he was a team captain for both the baseball and football teams. He was a member of the Connie Mack National Championship team in 1989 and attended the University of Michigan, where he was co-captain of the Wolverines' baseball team. Mike's wife, Kristin, was also a varsity athlete at Michigan, playing field hockey. The couple reside in St. Louis county with their five children: daughter Katie(18) and four sons, Tate(19), Luke(16), Jacob(15) and Blaise(12). His son, Tate, plays baseball at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., and was drafted in the 23rd round of the June 2012 draft by St. Louis, but did not sign. His daughter,Katie, is a stand-out ice hockey player and has committed to play hockey at Ohio State University.
Matheny (pronounced muh-THEE-nee)is currently under contract through the 2014 season.