Today’s choice is obvious.
Who else could there be to represent 25 days until Opening Night at Wrigley Field?
We all have varying opinions of Mark McGwire, 1998, steroids, a Congressional hearing, confessions and the like. But forget all of that for the moment — just think of how you felt in 1998, especially throughout September 1998.
Mark McGwire in 1998 is the reason I became a Cardinals fan in 2000.
As I’ve said many (probably too many) times before, I was initially a Cubs fan when I started following MLB in the 1980s. From January to June 1988 plus 8/8/88 and 8/9/88, I had an internship in the Cubs media relations office and, afterward, found myself a little burned out and disinterested in baseball.
For 10 years.
The death of Harry Caray in February 1998 (I’d met him during my internship and talked with him before every home game that April through June plus the first unofficial night game on 8/8) made me remember how much I used to love baseball and how much I missed it. I tuned in to the Cubs home opener and slowly got hooked back into what was an exciting season for them — Kerry Wood’s debut in May, Sammy Sosa’s amazing 20-homer June, the Game 163 playoff against the Giants to determine the wild card, etc. Yet as Sammy’s home run total grew along with Mark McGwire’s and the story grew at the national level, I began reading more and more about Mark and started to find him appealing. There was an article in Sports Illustrated — by Rick Reilly, maybe? — that really did it. Continue reading
“Matheny, what are you thinking?!”
If you have asked (or yelled) this question at your television or made that somewhat rhetorical inquiry on Twitter, let me save you some time: Mike Matheny’s new book, The Matheny Manifesto, will not give you the answers you’re looking for. The book is not about Mike’s bullpen philosophy nor does it give an insight to how he develops the batting order.
It does discuss Mike’s beliefs as to how youth sports (specifically baseball) should operate. So if you are a parent, teacher, coach or all of the above, it might resonate a bit more.
As a quick background, shortly after his retirement from playing, Mike Matheny was asked to coach a youth baseball team. He agreed but decided that if he was going to be the coach, it was going to be on his terms. He wrote a letter outlining the expectations he had for parents; the expectations for the young athletes who were to be on his team and what the parents could expect from the coaches. That letter, later posted on the Internet, became known as “The Matheny Manifesto” as it went viral. Hence, the title of the book.
Thanks to the heads-up from a friend, I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to attend “A Very Special Evening with Mike Matheny” at Lindenwood University last Monday, February 2. Attendees received a signed copy of The Matheny Manifesto upon arrival. The program consisted of a chat facilitated by Greg Amsinger of MLB Network, followed by a Q & A with the audience.
Starting today, you’ll have your chance to decide which two players from eight nominees will be inducted into the new St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in August. Fan voting runs through April 22 at cardinals.com/HOF.
The nominees are Jim Edmonds, Bob Forsch, Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Ted Simmons and Joe Torre.
“Induction into the Cardinals Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors the team can bestow,” Bill DeWitt Jr., Cardinals chairman and CEO, said. “We think it is appropriate to have the best, most knowledgeable fans in the game of baseball choose the two Cardinals players who will be part of this first elected class.”
The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame was established as a way to recognize the exceptional careers and significant achievements of the greatest players in Cardinals history. To be eligible, players must have played for the Cardinals for at least three seasons and must be retired as a player from Major League Baseball for at least three years. The eligible pool of players is divided into two categories, modern players and veteran players. If a player retired more than 40 years prior to the induction year, he is classified as a veteran player.
Following is a description of each nominee’s career as a Cardinal.