With tomorrow marking the one week anniversary of Mike Shildt’s mother passing, the Cardinals’ skipper sat and waited patiently to find out if he had won Manager of the Year for the National League. Surrounded by his loved ones, which included most of his coaching staff — the news rang out and Shildt tried to keep his composure.
“I set my sights on being the best coach I could be.”
Tonight, he became only the third manager in Cardinals history to win the award, joining Whitey Herzog (1985) and Tony La Russa (2002). And the first manager of the year, who never played professional baseball, to take a team to the postseason in 101 years.
He grew up in a Double-A clubhouse nestled in Charlotte, while his mother worked for the Charlotte O’s (Baltimore Orioles) as an administrative assistant. Chasing foul balls and doing whatever the team needed him to do at only 8-years-old. And despite realizing that his dream of playing in the big league wouldn’t pan out — Shildt focused on the coaching side.
Shildt received 10-first place votes, 14 second-place votes, and three third-place votes for total of 95 points, while runner-up Craig Counsell (Milwaukee) received 13-first place votes, six second-place votes, and five third-place votes for a total of 88 points.
While some doubted the once interim skipper, others kept having faith in him. Turning around the defensive slumps of the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals and keeping the bullpen together after losing Jordan Hicks in the early summer of 2019. With Shildt, the Cardinals were the first Major League team in history to go from the worst defense to the best in back-to-back seasons.
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