Cards' Matheny takes life's lessons into manager role

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:31pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

BOSTON (Reuters) - As a former catcher, Mike Matheny knows that Major League Baseball, like life, throws up the odd curveball.

It is a lesson he has learnt the hard way and one that he applies to his new role as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Matheny played 13 years in the majors. He won four Gold Gloves and backstopped the Cardinals to the 2004 World Series, but was forced to retire because of repeated concussions.

"I know from just speaking personally, there was so many things that I had to think about as a catcher that I know helped prepare me for some of the responsibilities that I have as a manager," Matheny said.

Rubbed out of the game he loved, Matheny initially turned to business, delving into real estate. He invested his life savings and millions more that he borrowed from a bank, but lost the lot when the property bubble first.

Forced to repay his debts, he returned to baseball, initially as an assistant with the Cardinals. When Tony La Russa retired in 2011 after leading St. Louis to their 11th Fall Classic, Matheny got the skipper's job.

Although he inherited a championship team, the pressure on him to continue that success was enormous. While some first-time managers may have been overawed by the expectations, Matheny excelled.

In his first season, he took the Cardinals to within one win of the World Series. Now, in his second year, he has a National League championship under his belt and is engaged in the World Series with the Boston Red Sox.   Continued...

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) talks with the media during a press conference a day before game three of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports