On November 13, 2011, Mike Matheny was named as the new manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, replacing retired Tony La Russa. While his club was unable to repeat as World Champions, the 42-year-old had a solid first season in the job.
Prior to his hire, Matheny had been a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak and an organizational catching instructor. A 13-year major league veteran and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, Matheny was a popular player with St. Louis from 2000-04. However, he had no prior professional team coaching or managerial experience.
Matheny was charged with replacing a future Hall-of-Famer in La Russa, while taking over the defending World Series winner. Less than a month after assuming the position, he saw his club’s superstar, Albert Pujols, depart St. Louis as a free agent. Then, at the very start of spring training, ace Chris Carpenter went down with injury.
With many questions about the new manager and his club coming into the season, Mathe...