With 38 different players taking the field for the St. Louis Cardinals over the course of 179 games from April 1 to Oct. 30, it was sometimes difficult to really highlight even the impressive seasons — like that of rookie Seth Maness.
For pitchers, it’s usually the starter or the closer who get all the blogging attention and we certainly wrote plenty about Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal and even Carlos Martinez. All justified, of course. And we did mention Maness, most often with the phrase “double play” used in the same sentence. But it wasn’t quite the same glowing praise — instead usually along the lines of “hey, he did it again!”
An article about a week ago in his hometown newspaper, The Pilot in Southern Pines, N.C., brought Maness to mind again. “‘One of Ours’ Makes the Big Time” chronicled Maness’s year, starting with his major league debut in Milwaukee on May 3 when he threw six pitches, and six strikes, to get three outs — all ground-outs, of course. After that:
The next night proved emblematic of what would become a hallmark of his rookie season. In the eighth inning of a tie game, with runners on first and second, the batter ground into a double play to end the inning. The Cards scored a run in the ninth, and Maness got his first Major League win in his second outing.