Mike Matheny Named Cardinals Manager

The St. Louis Cardinals today named former catcher Mike Matheny as the team's new manager. The announcement was made by team Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr. and Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak at a morning news conference.

Matheny, 41, becomes the 49th manager in Cardinals franchise history, succeeding Tony La Russa who announced his retirement on October 31 after 16 seasons at the helm of the Redbirds.

"What a wonderful and exciting opportunity this is," said Matheny. "My focus as manager will always be on continuing the winning tradition of Cardinals baseball in a way that brings both honor and respect to those who have preceded me. I am anxious to get started and I look forward to the challenges ahead."

Matheny, who most recently has served as a Special Assistant in Player Development for the Cardinals, enjoyed a 13-year career in the majors, earning recognition as one of the game's most respected and toughest competitors.

"We are excited to announce Mike as the newest Cardinals manager," said DeWitt. "Cardinals managers have established a distinguished place in baseball history over the years. We believe that Mike has the leadership characteristics and passion for the game to continue the great tradition of Cardinals success. He was a winning player, highly respected by his teammates, and knows our current club and organization as well as anyone."

"When we began our managerial search there were many qualified individuals, but after meeting with Mike and having also worked with him, we all knew that he was the right fit for this job," said Mozeliak. "Everyone respected Mike as a player and now we will have the opportunity to watch him grow as a manager."

Matheny inherits a Cardinals team that just last month captured the 11th World Championship title in franchise history. It should be noted that Hall-of-Famer Red Schoendienst also took over a Cardinals defending World Championship team in his first year (1965) as manager and went on manage the Cardinals for 12-straight seasons from 1965-1976.

Matheny at age 41 becomes 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 joins notables such as Schoendienst, Joe Torre, Ken Boyer, Frank Frisch and Rogers Hornsby amongst Cardinals players who also later served as the team's manager.

Michael Scott Matheny, who was drafted by Milwaukee in 1991 out of the University of Michigan, made his Major League debut in 1994 for the Brewers where he spent five seasons (1994-98) before signing a free-agent contract with Toronto in 1999. He joined the Cardinals in 2000 and spent five seasons (2000-04) with St. Louis, earning trips to the postseason in four of those five years. His playing career ended after a two year (2005-06) stint with the San Francisco Giants.

A four-time (2000, 2003-05) Rawlings Gold Glove recipient, Matheny holds the Major League catching record for consecutive errorless games (252) and for consecutive errorless chances (1,565). He posted a career batting mark of .239 with 67 home runs and 443 RBI in 1,305 games.

Matheny served as an inspirational leader during the Cardinals 2002 season, 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 in 2003 as the first recipient of the Darryl Kile Award - an award that goes annually to the Cardinals player who best demonstrates the qualities that Darryl brought to the clubhouse every day; those of a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.

A native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Matheny and his wife, Kristin, now make their home in St. Louis County with their five children; Tate, Katie, Luke, Jacob and Blaise.

Matheny plans to wear his familiar uniform #22, a number that was assigned to him in his first call-up by the Brewers and a number he continued to wear as a member of the Cardinals.

Matheny has agreed to a two-year contract for 2012-13 that includes a club option for 2014.