Mike Matheny in 2013.
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 22|
|Catcher / Manager|
September 22, 1970 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 7, 1994 for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 31, 2006 for the San Francisco Giants|
(through 2013 season)
|Runs batted in||443|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michael Scott Matheny (born September 22, 1970) is an American former professional baseball player and the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for four different teams during his thirteen-year playing career. Not a prodigious hitter, he was considered one of the best defensive catchers of his era, winning four National League Gold Glove Awards and becoming one of only three Major League catchers to catch at least 100 games in a single season without committing an error.
- 1 Early life and amateur career
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Managerial career
- 4 Awards and honors
- 5 Personal
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life and amateur career
Matheny grew up in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and graduated from Reynoldsburg High School, where he captained the baseball and football teams. His team won the 1989 Connie Mack championship. He attended the University of Michigan, where he co-captained the Wolverines baseball team.
Minor leagues, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays (1991–99)
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Matheny in the 8th round of the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft and he spent three years climbing the minor league system. He made his major league debut with the Brewers on April 7, 1994 at 23; he became their starting catcher early in the next season. At the end of the 1998 season, Matheny became eligible for salary arbitration and the Brewers granted him free agency a few months later. He signed a contract to play for the Toronto Blue Jays during the 1999 season, and played backup catcher to Darrin Fletcher. Toronto released him after the season, and he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on December 15, 1999.
St. Louis Cardinals (2000–04)
Matheny barely made the Cardinals roster after the spring training session, but went on to earn the starting catcher's role in the 2000 season. He posted a career-high .261 batting average and provided exceptional defense for the Cardinals, with a .993 fielding percentage and throwing out 53% of would-be base stealers, well above the league average of 32%. Matheny helped the Cardinals improve from their fourth-place finish in 1999 to capturing the National League Central Division title, and claimed his first Gold Glove award in the process. After the season, the Cardinals signed him to a three-year, $9-million contract.
Bolstering his growing reputation as a top defensive catcher, Matheny won two more Gold Glove Awards (2003 and 2004). His defensive contributions helped the team reach the postseason in four of his five years with the team, including claiming the National League pennant in 2004. Between August 1, 2002 and August 4, 2004, Matheny played in 252 games without committing an error, establishing a new Major League record for catchers. He set another Major League record for catchers in 2004 by fielding 1,565 consecutive chances without an error. During his playing days in a Cardinal uniform, Matheny caught 611 games, accumulating 4,938.1 innings and committing just 14 errors.
San Francisco Giants (2005–06)
Matheny signed a three-year contract with the San Francisco Giants on December 13, 2004. The next season, he displayed a rare power surge, amassing career-highs with 13 home runs, 34 doubles, a .406 slugging percentage and 59 runs batted in (RBIs). Matheny continued his defensive excellence, compiling a team-record .999 fielding percentage and leading National League catchers with 13 double plays, 77 assists and 39 would-be base-stealers caught stealing, earning his fourth Gold Glove. He also took home the Willie Mac Award that year, accorded annually to a San Francisco Giant for spirit and leadership. Matheny landed on the disabled list on May 31, 2006 after a series of foul balls caromed off his mask, resulting in a serious concussion. In July, the Giants announced that he would not return for the remainder of the season and that his career status was in doubt. MLB.com's Giants beat writer, Rich Draper, articulated that Matheny's career was likely over due to continued struggles with post-concussion syndrome.
Retirement and career statistics
On February 1, 2007, Matheny announced his retirement from Major League Baseball due to on-going symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. Shortly thereafter, Matheny became a baseball mentor for Protégé Sports and filming some catching tips and drills for the Scottsdale-based company.
In his thirteen-year major league career, Matheny played in 1,305 games, accumulating 925 hits in 3,877 at bats for a .239 career batting average along with 67 home runs, 443 RBIs and an on base percentage of .293. He led National League catchers twice in fielding percentage and ended his career with a .994 average, which was 4 points above the league average during his playing career. His .994 career fielding percentage ranks tenth all-time among Major League catchers. Matheny also twice led National League catchers in baserunners caught stealing.
January 24, 2008, Matheny returned to the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a special adviser for the first two weeks of spring training. The Cardinals announced him as the new manager on November 14, 2011 following Tony La Russa's retirement, making him the youngest manager in Major League Baseball.
On April 4, 2012, Matheny won in his managerial début against the Miami Marlins in the first game of their new ballpark. Twenty days later, Matheny was ejected from a game for the first time for arguing a pivotal safe/out call by umpire Bill Welke in the bottom of the 10th inning of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
In another contest against the Marlins later that season, a bungled double switch left Matheny with only pitchers available on the bench to pinch hit in extra innings. Incidentally, that pitcher catalyzed a St. Louis victory in his role as a batter. With the score tied 6–6 in the bottom of the ninth inning at Marlins Park on June 25, Matheny presented the action to home plate umpire Bob Davidson to place relief pitcher Víctor Marte in the game for fellow pitcher Sam Freeman. Simultaneously, infielder Tyler Greene substituted for third baseman David Freese, originally batting in the seventh spot in the lineup. Matheny assigned Greene to bat ninth – the order in the lineup which Freeman previously occupied – and play second base. The second baseman already in the game, Daniel Descalso, shifted to third base. Matheny showed Davidson these actions on the lineup card, and, with Davidson looking on, wrote "5" (used to designate the position of the third baseman) next to Descalso's name.
When Davidson conveyed the changes to Marlins manager Ozzie Guillén, a communication error transpired. After Marte faced one batter, Guillén vaulted from the Marlins dugout to argue that Marte and Allen Craig, the number five hitter, "couldn't be on the field at the same time." Rather than opposing Guillén's protest, Matheny removed Craig and substituted Tony Cruz at first base, erasing two of the Cardinals' top hitters, Craig and Freese, from the game. In the top of the tenth, Marte was due in Craig's fifth spot. With no regular batters remaining, Matheny chose a former college outfielder to bat for Marte, rookie pitcher Joe Kelly. The Cardinals had gained the lead, 7–6, at this point and Kelly batted with the bases loaded and two outs. He beat a ground ball for an infield hit that scored a run – his first major league hit and RBI – and put the Cardinals up 8–6. This run proved to be crucial insurance as Miami's Omar Infante scored on a John Buck single in the bottom of the tenth. Nevertheless, Jason Motte, Marte's replacement, closed it out for the 8–7 win.
Matheny's first season as Cardinals manager was an overall success, finishing the regular season with an 88-74 record en route to capturing the National League wild-card game and qualifying for the postseason. However, the Cardinals fell to the Giants in the 2012 National League Championship Series.
On February 14, 2013, the Cardinals agreed to pick up his 2014 option. Matheny exceeded the success of his first managerial season by finishing the 2013 season with a 97-65 record and the National League Central Division title. The Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 in the 2013 National League Division Series and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in the 2013 National League Championship Series before losing the 2013 World Series to the Boston Red Sox in six games.
On November 20, 2013 the Cardinals extended his contract for three more years through 2017.
Awards and honors
- 4x Gold Glove Award at catcher (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005)
- Darryl Kile Good Guy Award (2003)
- Willie Mac Award (2005)
He is married to Kristen, a former field hockey player at the University of Michigan. The couple have five children: one daughter, Katie, and four sons, Michael "Tate", Luke, Jacob and Blaise. Matheny regularly chronicles his life experiences and maintains a blog of which topics includes leadership and changing the culture of youth sports.
Matheny organized and created the Catch-22 charity (named for his playing position and uniform number) which donated tickets for Cardinals games between 2002 and 2004. In 2005, Matheny opened a "Catch 22" field at the Chesterfield Valley Athletic complex in Chesterfield, Missouri. The field has a completely flat and firm rubber surface and other features to allow children with a wide array of physical and mental handicaps to participate. 
Real estate ventures
In the aftermath of unprofitable real estate transactions, Matheny is heavily in debt. In 2005, Matheny had originally founded MPD Partnership with two indoor soccer players, Daryl Doran and Brett Phillips. This venture proved successful as they purchased a block of the WingHaven Develop in St. Charles and gained a $2.4 million profit after six months. Doran separated from the partnership to start a gym. Matheny and Phillips then took the income to secure a $11.8 million loan for an eleven acre tract near interstate 40. He lost a 17-room house in Wildwood, Missouri, following insolvency on two commercial plots in nearby Chesterfield Valley. These plots did not sustain tenants and the value deflated after the financial crisis of 2007–08. His debts exceed $4 million, and the amount of liability depended on the outcome of lawsuits involving the defaulted loans. Matheny's attorney, Robert Blitz, is handling a similar case: Fischer and Frichtel, a homebuilder who also defaulted on assets after sustaining losses over the same time period, contend that they should not be fully liable for what is termed as "deflationary debt." The St. Louis appellate court deferred the case to the Supreme Court of Missouri. In January, 2013, a circuit court ruling determined that Matheny parternship owed The Business Bank of St. Louis $4.4 million despite economic conditions and the bank's decision to stop loaning money to Matheny.
- "Mike Matheny statistics". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- "Managers and coaches: Mike Matheny". stlous.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
- Vass, George (May 2005). "For Catchers, The Name of the Game is Defense". Baseball Digest. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- "Sports Illustrated Players' Poll: Who is the best defensive catcher in the major leagues?". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Giants catcher Mike Matheny announces retirement". mlb.com. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Olsen, Drew (April 30, 1997). "Matheny makes the plays: Catcher's hit, tag key in close victory". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 8. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Mike Matheny". The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "1991 Major League Baseball Draft 8th Round". thebaseballcube.com. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- "Mike Matheny minor league statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "1995 Mike Matheny batting log". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Haudricourt, Tom (December 11, 1998). "Bando heading to meetings in search of pitching help". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 8. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Matheny Signs 3-Year Extension Worth Around $9 Million". nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- "Mike Matheny fielding statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "2000 Gold Glove Award winners". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Johnson, Chuck (October 22, 2004). "Cardinals win NLCS, advance to World Series". USA Today. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- "Willie Mac Award Winners". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Shea, John (February 2, 2007). "Matheny knows it's time to quit: Catcher felled by concussions". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Giants mailbag: Steep price for Zito? MLB.com
- "Career Leaders & Records for Fielding Percentage as Catcher". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Strauss, Joe. "Cards hire Matheny as manager". STLtoday.com. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Langosch, Jenifer. "Matheny doesn't have to break sweat in first win". Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Cubs win in 10 to end Cards' run of 13 straight winning series". Retrieved April 25, 2012.
- Goold, Derrick (June 26, 2012). "Lineup card confusion nearly burns Cardinals". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Goold, Derrick (June 26, 2012). "Cards win a wild one in Miami". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- "St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins box score". ESPN.com. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- "St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins play by play". ESPN.com. June 25, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Langosch, Jenifer (February 14, 2013). "Cards extend Mozeliak, pick up Matheny's option". MLB.com.
- "Cards extend Matheny's contract; Carpenter retires". MLB.com. November 20, 2013.
- Calcaterra, Craig (March 18, 2013). "Mike Matheny has a blog dedicated to changing the culture of youth sports". NBC Hardball Times. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- McGregor, Jena (October 25, 2013). "The leadership smarts of Mike Matheny". Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Nolen, Casey. "Matheny loved for his work off the field". KSDK.
- Hunn, David (january 19, 2013). "Cardinals manager Mike Matheny owes millions after losing legal fight". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Pollout, Matthew (November 19, 2011). "New Cardinals manager lost his dreamhouse, faces lawsuit". NBC Sports.
- Wagman, Jake (November 20, 2011). "Matheny lost his home in legal fight with bank over business". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "Special offer: Mike Matheny Cardinals '1st Win' Marlins Park". Big League Baseballs Forums. June 7, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2013. "BigLeague Moderator: 'Mr. Matheny signs all items with some form of scripture reference inscription, I'm told.'"
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Mike Matheny managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com
- Personal blog
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