If you’ve read “The Matheny Manifesto“, you might recall Mike Matheny speaking of his time with Milwaukee and the impression that Robin Yount made on him as a rookie in the Brewers organization. Another Hall of Famer who had an impact on the St. Louis Cardinals manager was Paul Molitor.
“My first game,” began Matheny. “I was called up on a road trip my first Spring Training to come in and catch. My first assignment was, they called late in the game–we were almost out of it, kind of on the brink of coming back. They called down to the bullpen and said if Daryl Hamilton doesn’t get on base, you’re going to hit for Molly.
“So I come running down and put the big ‘ol crazy looking double-ear flap helmet on and Molitor walks up and goes ‘you look stupid, here put this on’ and gave me his helmet. So I’m standing on deck and sure enough, Hamilton bloops a double and so they pulled me off deck and Molly goes up and gets a base hit.”
“I doubt he remembers that, but I’ll never forget it,” said Matheny. “I went back in and we ended up losing. Paul got on and I think even knocked in Hamilton but we ended up losing. I went over and looked at the scorecard–they had already scratched out Molitor and wrote my name. I went to grab it and they threw it in the trash and somebody spit the biggest Redman spit on it you’ve ever seen and I decided to leave it lay. But almost–that was my almost moment.”
As a result, the manager now makes sure the scorecards aren’t thrown in the garbage if they mark such a moment.
“I do,” said Matheny. “If a guy just has his debut and then he gets out, we’ll give it to him. But we’ll usually wait til he gets his hit or he gets a strike if it’s an appearance for a pitcher, we’ll let him have the scorecard. Spring Training we try to do that also.”
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove, Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports