© 2021 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cardinals Shildt Voted National League’s Manager Of The Year

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (third from left) and front office officials answers questions on August 28, 2018 after giving Shildt a two-year contract as manager.
File photo | 5 On Your Side

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was named recipient of the 2019 National League Manager of the Year Award as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Shildt, who this season guided the Cardinals to their first National League Central title since 2015, joins Hall of Fame managers Whitey Herzog (1985) and Tony La Russa (2002) as Cardinals past winners of the award.

“We are extremely happy for Shildty for having been voted the recipient of this well-deserved honor,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “Mike and his staff are extremely committed to providing Cardinals fans with a winning style of play that is focused on all facets of the game, and it showed thru this past season.”

The announcement of the award was made live on the MLB cable television network. Shildt was joined by family and members of his coaching staff, including pitching coach Mike Maddux. He was emotional in his acceptance — his mother, Lib, died last week in Charlotte, North Carolina, at age 85.

This was only the second election in Manager of the Year voting history in which the winner did not receive the most first-place votes. The only other time was in the American League in 1995 when the Mariners’ Lou Piniella had nine first-place votes to 11 for the Red Sox Kevin Kennedy but won on total points, 86-74.

He is the first in baseball history to win the award without having played professional baseball at any level and just the eighth to not have played in the majors.

Shildt guided the Cardinals to a share of their 12th N.L. Central title in his first full season at the helm, overseeing a transformation of the team’s defense with record-setting performances, as the Cardinals became the first major league team in history to go from worst to first in errors in back-to-back seasons.

The Cardinals went 91-71 in 2019 while advancing to the National League Championship Series, and are 132-99 (.571 winning pct.) under Shildt since he was named interim manager on July 15, 2018, to replace Mike Matheny, recently hired by the Kansas City Royals.

Shildt, 51, was signed last week to a new three-year contract that extends thru the 2022 season.

Having first joined the Cardinals organization in 2004 as an area scout, Shildt advanced thru the team’s player development system, and managed his teams to minor league championships in 2010 and 2011 at rookie-level Johnson City and in 2012 at Springfield of the Texas League (AA).

Shildt was named the Appalachian League manager of the year in 2010, the same year he was honored as the recipient of the Cardinals George Kissell Award for excellence in player development.

Rocco Baldelli was voted manager of the year in the American League.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.