Archive for the ‘Executives’ Category

An unhappy fan base and an unreliable pitching staff combined to create an unhealthy situation for Eddie Stanky and the 1955 Cardinals.

eddie_stanky2Unable to overcome those obstacles, Stanky was fired in his fourth season as Cardinals manager 60 years ago on May 28, 1955.

The Cardinals replaced Stanky with Harry Walker, who was managing their farm club at Rochester. Walker was more popular than Stanky but no better able to win with such poor pitching.

From foe to friend

A three-time all-star, Stanky was the second baseman on National League pennant winners with the 1947 Dodgers, 1948 Braves and 1951 Giants. His aggressive play earned him the reputation as a pest and led to him being a frequent target of boos when he played the Cardinals at St. Louis.

Imagine the surprise then of Cardinals fans when on Dec. 11, 1951, St. Louis acquired Stanky from the Giants for pitcher Max Lanier and outfielder Chuck Diering. The surprise turned to rancor when Stanky was named player-manager, replacing Marty Marion, who was fired by team owner Fred Saigh. Marion, the popular former shortstop, had guided the 1951 Cardinals to an 81-73 record and third-place finish in his lone season as manager.

Good start

In his first St. Louis season, Stanky, 36, led the 1952 Cardinals to an 88-66 record and third place in the NL. He was named manager of the year by The Sporting News.

In 1953, Saigh sold the Cardinals to Gussie Busch. Stanky, in his last season as a player, managed the 1953 Cardinals to an 83-71 record and another third-place finish.

Stanky’s career took a downturn in 1954. The low point occurred when he used stalling tactics in an attempt to avoid a loss. Umpires forfeited the game to the Phillies and, in a stunning rebuke of Stanky, Cardinals fans cheered the decision. Stanky was suspended. Humbled, he apologized for his actions. With a staff ERA of 4.50, the 1954 Cardinals finished sixth at 72-82.

Heightened expectations

Heading to spring training in 1955, expectations soared because of young standouts such as Ken Boyer, Wally Moon and Bill Virdon joining a lineup with Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst.

Bill Walsingham, a club vice president, told The Sporting News that the 1955 Cardinals “will run faster and throw better than players on the Cardinals champions of 1942.”

Stanky heightened the hope, telling Bob Broeg of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his everyday lineup “is the best _ the fastest and finest-fielding _ I’ve had. And, unless the kids fail to hit at all, it’s of championship caliber.”

The pitching, though, hadn’t improved.

On May 22, 1955, in the first game of a doubleheader at Cincinnati, the Reds rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth and won, 4-3. Stanky stormed into the clubhouse and smacked at mustard and mayonnaise jars on a food table, sending glass and goo flying.

Displaying a hand dripping with blood and condiments, Stanky said, “No, it’s not true I was trying to cut my throat.”

Time for a change

Four days later, on May 26, Cardinals general manager Dick Meyer met with Walker in Rochester and told him he would replace Stanky. Meyer instructed Walker to be in St. Louis on May 28 and to keep the news a secret.

Stunned, Walker said to Meyer, “Is this a joke?”

Replied Meyer: “We have been considering the change for some time.”

Walker, 38, had been a Cardinals outfielder and played for their World Series championship clubs of 1942 and ’46. He managed Cardinals farm clubs at Columbus (1951) and Rochester (1952-55).

His brother, Dixie Walker, was a coach on Stanky’s Cardinals staff.

At 8:15 on the morning of May 28, Stanky got a call from Meyer, who informed the manager he was fired. Meyer asked Stanky to attend a 2 p.m. press conference at Busch’s estate at Grant’s Farm. Stanky agreed.

Flanked by Stanky and Walker, Busch informed the media of the change, saying it had been contemplated for three weeks. The Cardinals’ record was 17-19.

The Sporting News offered that “Stanky’s unpopularity had reached a point regarded as alarming to an organization concerned with the goodwill of consumers as well as customers.”

Said Stanky: “Nothing in baseball shocks me any more and there’s no such word as malice in my vocabulary.”

Dixie Walker was named Rochester manager, replacing his brother.

Different styles

Among media reactions to the dismissal of Stanky:

_ The Sporting News: “The move perhaps was inevitable because of the disappointing start of the young, highly regarded team and the mounting fan clamor for a change.”

_ J. Roy Stockton, Post-Dispatch: “Eddie showed major-league courage and acumen in the rebuilding of the Redbirds. All the club needs now to make a serious bid for the pennant is good pitching.”

_ Lloyd Larson, Milwaukee Sentinel: “Eddie Stanky undoubtedly knows baseball … So where did he fall down? The answer, I believe, rests in his handling of people _ the key to successful management in many fields.”

New boss, same results

A few hours after the press conference announcing his promotion, Walker made his Cardinals managerial debut that night against the Reds at St. Louis. Jackie Collum, a former Cardinal, spoiled the festivities, pitching a four-hitter in a 5-1 Reds triumph.

The 1955 Cardinals were 51-67 under Walker and finished seventh at 68-86 overall. The staff ERA of 4.56 was the worst in the NL.

After the season, the Cardinals replaced Walker with Fred Hutchinson, former Tigers manager. Walker went back to managing in the Cardinals’ farm system. He would return to the big leagues as manager of the Pirates (1965-67) and Astros (1968-72).

Stanky managed the Giants’ farm club at Minneapolis in 1956. His roster included future Cardinals players Bill White and Eddie Bressoud and future Cardinals manager Vern Rapp.

After serving as an Indians coach in 1957 and ’58, Stanky rejoined the Cardinals in 1959 as player development director under general manager Bing Devine. Stanky served in that role until he, along with Devine, was fired again by Busch in August 1964.

Previously: Cardinals fans cheered when 1954 game was forfeited to Phillies

Previously: Bill White interviewed about autobiography

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Convinced he had the leverage to demand a more lucrative contract, Cardinals ace Mort Cooper played hardball with Sam Breadon. The club owner responded by trading Cooper rather than negotiating with him.

mort_cooper4“In reckoning on his ability to outmaneuver Sam Breadon, Cooper encountered an old master who is familiar with a wide variety of curves,” The Sporting News wrote.

Seventy years ago, on May 23, 1945, the Cardinals traded Cooper, 32, to the Braves for pitcher Red Barrett, 30, and $60,000. Three months later, Cooper had elbow surgery. Barrett earned 21 wins for the 1945 Cardinals.

Show me the money

Cooper was a key reason the Cardinals won three National League pennants and two World Series championships from 1942-44. He was named winner of the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1942 when he was 22-7 with a 1.78 ERA. He followed that with a 21-8 record and 2.30 ERA in 1943 and a 22-7 record and 2.46 ERA in 1944.

Before the 1945 season, Cooper signed a one-year contract for $12,000. That amount, Breadon told Cooper, was the club ceiling on salaries. In spring training, though, Cooper learned the Cardinals had made an exception for Marty Marion and had signed the shortstop for $13,500.

Cooper demanded the Cardinals give him a new contract for $15,000. Breadon refused. In protest, Cooper and his brother, Walker Cooper, left the Cardinals’ spring training camp at Cairo, Ill., and threatened to boycott the club’s opening series against the Cubs.

The Cooper brothers eventually gave in and were with the club on Opening Day at Chicago. Soon after, Walker Cooper was inducted into the Navy. Mort Cooper made his first appearance of the season on April 22, pitching in relief against the Reds at St. Louis.

When the Cardinals left St. Louis by train for an April series at Cincinnati, Cooper, still miffed about his contract, didn’t show. Instead, he arrived in Cincinnati the next day with his lawyer, Lee Havener, and demanded a salary increase.

Cooper started on April 29 against the Reds and earned the win. He also won his next start, versus the Cubs, on May 6 and got a no-decision in his third start on May 13 against the Giants.

With a 2-0 record and 1.52 ERA, Cooper appeared headed toward another big season. Because of injuries and commitments to military service, the Cardinals had little pitching depth. Sensing he had the upper hand, Cooper decided the time was right to force the issue of a new contract.

Jumping ship

In mid-May, while the Cardinals were in Boston, Cooper called traveling secretary Leo Ward about 3 a.m. at the team hotel and informed him he was leaving without permission and returning to St. Louis. Manager Billy Southworth suspended the AWOL pitcher indefinitely and fined him $500.

In St. Louis, Cooper and Havener asked Breadon to discuss a new contract. A meeting was scheduled for May 23 in Breadon’s office.

Secretly, Breadon began talking with clubs to gauge interest in trading for Cooper. The Giants offered cash but no players. The Cubs and Phillies offered a combination of players and cash. The Braves, though, offered the most cash, plus Barrett.

On May 23, Cooper and Havener arrived at Breadon’s office, expecting to renegotiate a contract. Southworth was there with Breadon. After exchanging pleasantries, Breadon delivered his surprise, informing Cooper he had been traded to the Braves.

Deal of the year

“In disposing of Cooper, Breadon took the best course, since there was little chance of an amicable agreement,” The Sporting News opined.

United Press wire service called the transaction “the most important baseball deal of 1945″ because the departure of a perennial 20-game winner gave hope to NL teams that the three-time defending champion Cardinals could be dethroned.

Cooper “almost overnight transformed (the Braves) into a pennant contender,” wrote The Sporting News.

Singing slinger

Barrett nearly was overlooked in most reviews of the trade. He was 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA for the 1945 Braves.

Barrett was almost as well-known as a singer as he was a pitcher. He sang a role in the opera “Narcissus” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He toured with bands during the off-season.

“There is scarcely a big jazz band in the country that I haven’t sung with,” Barrett said. “Sammy Kaye. Tommy Dorsey. Skinny Ennis and the rest of them.”

No one expected Barrett would be the equal of Cooper. His career record in seven seasons with the Reds and Braves was 16-37.

Barrett, though, sensed a turnaround. “A fellow really ought to win a few ballgames with that club,” Barrett said of the Cardinals. “What a treat it is to have a real infield in back of you.”

Informed of the trade by Braves manager Bob Coleman, Barrett said, “I didn’t give them a chance to change their minds. I was packed and ready to leave for St. Louis two minutes later. I’d have been ready sooner but I had difficulty in getting my suitcase closed.”

Inserted into the rotation, Barrett was 21-9 with a 2.74 ERA and pitched 22 complete games for the 1945 Cardinals. Cooper was 7-4 with a 3.35 ERA for the 1945 Braves.

Final years

The 1945 Cardinals finished in second place at 95-59, three games behind the Cubs. The Braves finished sixth in the eight-team league at 67-85, 30 games behind Chicago.

With Breadon’s approval, Southworth left the Cardinals after the 1945 season and accepted an offer to manage the Braves. His replacement, Eddie Dyer, preferred using Barrett in relief and giving him spot starts. Barrett was 3-2 for the 1946 Cardinals. After the season, he was sent back to the Braves. He pitched three more years for them.

Under Southworth, Cooper was 13-11 with a 3.12 ERA for the 1946 Braves. It was his last hurrah. In 1947, his final season as a major-league pitcher, Cooper was a combined 3-10 with a 5.40 ERA for the Braves and Giants.

Previously: How Mort Cooper pitched 2 straight one-hitters for Cardinals

Previously: Big-game losses haunt Mort Cooper, Justin Verlander

Previously: Mike Matheny, Eddie Dyer share rare rookie achievement

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Unwilling to bend on principle, Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill reluctantly traded a slugger he wanted to keep. In a stroke of good fortune, he got in exchange a closer who would rank among the franchise’s all-time best.

lee_smith3Twenty-five years ago, on May 4, 1990, the Cardinals sent right fielder Tom Brunansky to the Red Sox for reliever Lee Smith.

It was one of Maxvill’s best trades during his tenure (1985-94) as Cardinals general manager.

Anatomy of a deal

Maxvill didn’t want to trade Brunansky.

Brunansky wasn’t seeking a trade.

Yet, when Brunansky demanded a no-trade clause as a condition for waiving free agency and re-signing with the Cardinals, Maxvill wouldn’t budge. He called Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman and quickly arranged the trade.

According to the Associated Press, the deal “climaxed several weeks of talks” between the Cardinals and Red Sox.

Maxvill, though, insisted the Cardinals never discussed with the Red Sox a trade of Brunansky for Smith until Maxvill called Gorman the afternoon of May 4 “despite Gorman’s public posturing that the deal had almost been made in early April,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“I haven’t been looking to trade him,” Maxvill said. “We wanted to keep Brunansky.”

Seeking security

The Cardinals had acquired Brunansky from the Twins for second baseman Tommy Herr on April 22, 1988, five months after Minnesota had prevailed in a seven-game World Series with St. Louis.

Early in the 1990 season, the Cardinals approached Brunansky about a three-year contract. Brunansky, like Smith, was eligible to become a free agent after the 1990 season. In the contract the Cardinals inherited from the Twins in 1988, Brunansky had a limited no-trade clause. Brunansky wanted a no-trade provision in any new contract.

“We tried to work around this somehow, but it just couldn’t be done,” Maxvill said.

Said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog: “We tried to negotiate a little bit with (Brunansky), but he wanted a no-trade contract and we don’t have those in St. Louis.”

Brunansky explained “my wife and I wanted to settle down and buy a house here,” but couldn’t commit to that without the no-trade clause.

“The no-trade was the whole thing,” said Brunansky. “We never got to the point of talking money. For me to stay here, I would need some kind of security. I wasn’t going to sign here for three years, buy a house and everything and keep hearing trade rumors. It was a big issue for me and, of course, it was a big issue for the ball club.”

Motivated to act

The Red Sox were eager to deal because they needed a right fielder to replace Dwight Evans, who was restricted to designated hitter duties because of back problems.

The Cardinals needed an established closer to replace Todd Worrell, who was recuperating from elbow surgery. The Cardinals had opened the 1990 season with Scott Terry as the closer.

Smith, 32, became available when the Red Sox signed free-agent closer Jeff Reardon.

Brunansky, 29, was deemed expendable because reserve Milt Thompson could step in as Cardinals right fielder.

The Cardinals also had talked with the White Sox about closer Bobby Thigpen, according to the Post-Dispatch. The Red Sox, though, were motivated to act fast.

“They called us. It’s as simple as that,” Red Sox manager Joe Morgan said to the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette. “Nobody would give us the kind of pitcher we wanted, so we went with the right-handed power.”

Reunited with Roarke

Brunansky hit 43 home runs in three years with the Cardinals, but only 11 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. “He’ll hit homers in Fenway (Park),” said Red Sox catcher Tony Pena, a former Cardinal. “St. Louis was a tough park for him to hit in.”

Said Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs: “He’s the stick we need in the middle of the lineup.”

Smith had posted a 2-1 record with four saves, a 1.88 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 14.1 innings for the 1990 Red Sox. In joining the Cardinals, Smith was reunited with coach Mike Roarke, who had been his coach as a rookie with the 1980 Cubs.

Said Smith: “I’m really pleased. Something had to be done. With the two closers we had, it wasn’t fair to either one of us. I’ve always been a Whitey Herzog fan and the way he uses pitchers. And I like pitching in Busch Stadium.”

Lee Smith joined a Cardinals roster that included pitcher Bryn Smith and shortstop Ozzie Smith. “We might as well try to get Lonnie (Smith of the Braves) and Zane (Smith of the Pirates),” said Ozzie Smith.

Brunansky played four years with the Red Sox and hit 56 home runs.

Lee Smith played four years with the Cardinals and earned 160 saves while posting a 2.90 ERA. Only Jason Isringhausen (217) has more saves as a Cardinal.

Previously: Why Cardinals traded Tommy Herr to Twins in 1988

Previously: Cardinals years among best for Hall candidate Lee Smith

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Five months after the 1934 Cardinals won the World Series title in seven games against the Tigers, owner Sam Breadon expressed a desire to move the franchise from St. Louis to Detroit.

sam_breadon3Disheartened by attendance figures for a franchise that won five National League pennants and three World Series championships from 1926-34, Breadon was willing to relocate the Cardinals after a bid to sell them collapsed.

The Cardinals’ regular-season home attendance in 1926, when they won the pennant and World Series title for the first time, was 681,575. It increased to 778,147 in 1928, when they again won the pennant.

After the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, Cardinals attendance spiraled, even though the team was successful.

For sale

The Cardinals, who shared Sportsman’s Park with the American League Browns, drew 519,647 during the regular season in 1930, when they won their third pennant. Their attendance was 623,960 in 1931, when they won the pennant and World Series title.

After regular-season attendance totals of 290,370 in 1932 and 268,404 in 1933, the Cardinals drew 334,863 in 1934, when the colorful Gashouse Gang team of Dizzy Dean, Joe Medwick, Pepper Martin and Frankie Frisch won the pennant and World Series crown.

Fearing for the long-term financial prospects and figuring the value of his World Series championship club was at a premium, Breadon instructed general manager Branch Rickey to negotiate a sale with Lew Wentz, an Oklahoma oil baron who offered to buy the Cardinals.

Wentz, though, withdrew because of the asking price. Breadon wanted $1.1 million, according to the Murray Polner book “Branch Rickey: A Biography.”

With no prospects of a sale, Breadon explored relocation as an option.

Motor City madness

On March 28, 1935, during spring training in Bradenton, Fla., Breadon told reporters he would move the Cardinals to Detroit if Tigers owner Frank Navin approved.

The 1934 Tigers had a regular-season attendance of 919,161 _ nearly three times the Cardinals’ total _ and Breadon saw the job-generating Motor City as a town better suited than St. Louis to support two major-league franchises.

Sid Keener, sports editor of the St. Louis Star-Times, reported, “Breadon intimated that he would make overtures to the two major leagues during the coming season to rearrange the current setups of the National and American leagues. He said he believed baseball would profit by changing St. Louis to a one-club major league city, leaving the Browns as the sole representative in the Missouri city and by moving his own National League franchise to Detroit.”

Said Breadon to Keener: “We can put this over if Frank Navin … will take a sensible view of conditions. I can swing the deal from the National League angle. By that, I mean I have received the consent of the National League club owners to transfer the Cardinals to Detroit. However, we must convince Mr. Navin that it would be a good thing for everyone concerned in baseball before we can put it over.”

Profit over loyalty

According to the Associated Press, Breadon said, “Detroit has enough high-salaried fans to attend ballgames every day and it would help the Tigers. Think of the profit of a spring series alone.”

The Sporting News, the St. Louis-based weekly, quoted Breadon as saying, “I think Detroit would be an ideal spot for the Cardinals and I would go there in a minute if Navin opened the way to come in. But I doubt that he would want us.”

On March 29, 1935, the day after his stunning remarks, Breadon backpedaled. When asked by the Associated Press whether there was an immediate plan for a move, Breadon replied, “Not at all.”

In its April 4, 1935, edition, The Sporting News claimed Breadon “was merely doing a little off-the-record wishing” when he expressed interest in relocating the Cardinals to Detroit. Navin had no interest in sharing his market with the Cardinals, The Sporting News reported.

Still, the magazine left open the possibility of a Cardinals move.

“The meager draw (in 1934) caused Breadon to do a lot of thinking and the club would have shown a loss on the year’s operations had not the team smashed its way into the World Series,” The Sporting News opined. “While Detroit is out of the question as a stamping ground for the Redbirds, there are other possible future landing places for the Cardinals … The time may not be far distant when the Redbirds will be flying away to some other community.”

The Cardinals’ regular-season attendance improved to 517,805 in 1935, when the team finished in second place. Still from 1935 through 1945, the Cardinals never drew more than 642,496 for a regular season.

In 1946, the first regular season after World War II, the Cardinals totaled an attendance of more than a million for the first time since the franchise began in 1892.

Previously: Top 5 reasons why Sam Breadon should be in Hall of Fame

Previously: Rift with Branch Rickey led Cardinals to oust Frankie Frisch

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When the 1945 Cardinals reported to spring training at Cairo, Ill., they found the outfield better suited for fishing than for chasing fly balls. Unable to have fielding or batting practice because of flooding at Cotter Field, the Cardinals abandoned the Illinois river town and conducted spring training at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

whitey_kurowskiSeventy years ago, in March 1945, the defending World Series champion Cardinals planned to hold spring training in Cairo for the third consecutive year. St. Petersburg, Fla., was the Cardinals’ spring training base, but the Redbirds, like all big-league clubs, trained at sites closer to home from 1943-45 in order to conserve resources through reduced travel during World War II.

Training at Cairo worked well for the Cardinals in 1943 and 1944. They had more than 100 wins and earned a National League pennant in each of those years, including a World Series title in 1944.

River runs through it

Cairo is located on the southern tip of Illinois, where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi River. In March 1945, rain swelled the rivers. Even with walls and levees protecting the town, water seeped into the ballpark used by the Cardinals.

The stages of the rivers were 10 feet above the level of the ballpark, according to the Associated Press. Under orders from club owner Sam Breadon, Cardinals traveling secretary Leo Ward searched throughout Cairo for an alternative spot to conduct batting and fielding practice, “but he mired in mud and returned gloomily to the hotel.”

“There was talk of moving the training camp back to St. Louis as early as March 13, the second day the players were in camp,” The Sporting News reported. “However, Breadon gave the Cairo people a few days more to get their park in shape.”

Losing battle

Cairo Mayor E.A. Smith and city fire and street departments “did everything they knew to get the field in shape. They dug draining ditches and put the fire pumps to work in the outfield, but each morning a new film of seepage water covered the infield,” The Sporting News wrote.

In a story filed on March 19, 1945, the Associated Press reported, “The outfield of the practice diamond was under four feet of water and it appeared doubtful that the park would be useable for baseball during the two weeks the team will be in town.”

Among those in camp for the Cardinals were pitchers Max Lanier, Blix Donnelly and Bud Byerly, first baseman Ray Sanders, second baseman Emil Verban, third baseman Whitey Kurowski, outfielder Debs Garms and rookie Red Schoendienst.

A picture in The Sporting News showed Kurowski, Lanier and Sanders casting fishing lines in the outfield water.

Ohio option

Coach Mike Gonzalez was running the club while manager Billy Southworth was at home in Sunbury, Ohio, after spending weeks in New York while joining in a mission to search for his son, who was killed in a crash of a B-29 he was piloting.

Southworth was trying to find a training site for the Cardinals in Ohio. “Breadon announced Southworth is looking for a place and that the squad will leave (Cairo) if satisfactory arrangements can be made,” the Associated Press reported.

The Sporting News revealed Southworth wanted to bring the Cardinals to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where the minor-league Columbus and Rochester teams were training.

“Miami University officials hustled around to find living quarters for the Cardinals and a series of games among the three clubs was being worked up,” The Sporting News wrote. “Manager Billy Southworth … believed the arrangement was set, but owner Sam Breadon vetoed the move to Oxford.”

Homeward bound

Breadon ordered the team instead to return to St. Louis. The last time the Cardinals had spent spring training at home was in 1919. The reason then was lack of finances.

Wrote The Sporting News of the deteriorating conditions in Cairo: “For a week, the Redbirds had no real baseball work. They indulged in pepper games on a hard cinder footing, did some throwing, running and calisthenics but had no batting practice or real infield workout … A soggy infield, no batting practice for five days and fishing in the outfield quickly convinced (Breadon) that he had to act quickly.”

Said Breadon: “Oh for a return to good old St. Petersburg.”

The Cardinals began workouts at Sportsman’s Park on March 26, 1945, and opened the season on April 17 at Chicago.

The disrupted spring training didn’t appear to hurt them much. The 1945 Cardinals had 95 wins and finished in second place, three games behind the Cubs.

Previously: Why the Cardinals chose Cairo, Ill., for spring training

Previously: Why Billy Southworth managed Cardinals with heavy heart

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As an infielder who struggled to hit, Dal Maxvill overcame the odds and started in 21 World Series games for the Cardinals. As a coach with no experience as a baseball executive, Maxvill again overcame the odds and became general manager of the Cardinals.

dal_maxvill3Thirty years ago, on Feb. 25, 1985, Maxvill was the surprise choice of the Cardinals to replace Joe McDonald as general manager. Maxvill was a coach with the Atlanta Braves when the Cardinals approached him about becoming their top baseball executive.

“It seemed a rather sizeable leap to go from third-base coach to general manager,” Rick Hummel wrote in The Sporting News.

In his book “White Rat: A Life in Baseball,” Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog said, “I had my doubts about him when he was hired … He’d never made a trade, never negotiated a contract and I wondered what the hell was going through their minds when they hired him.”

Baseball and business

Maxvill, 46, said he hadn’t applied for the job and was approached by club officials. Team owner Gussie Busch said he was seeking a candidate who knew both baseball and the Cardinals organization and also had business experience.

Busch believed Maxvill met the criteria.

Maxvill had played for the Cardinals from 1962-72. Replacing the injured Julian Javier, he started seven games at second base in the 1964 World Series. He started seven games at shortstop in the 1967 World Series and again in the 1968 World Series. Maxvill won a Gold Glove Award in 1968. He hit .220 in his Cardinals career.

Maxvill was a Cardinals coach from 1979-80 and an instructor in 1981. He and former Cardinals reliever Joe Hoerner were co-owners of a St. Louis travel agency.

The Cardinals offered Maxvill a one-year contract.

“Of all the people we considered, myself and the other members of the executive committee unanimously agreed that Dal Maxvill has the qualifications we were looking for in a general manager,” Busch told the Associated Press.

Fred Kuhlmann, chief operating officer of the Cardinals, said Tal Smith, a consultant hired to lead the search for a general manager, gave Maxvill “as enthusiastic a recommendation as there could be.”

Cardinals connections

Two other former Cardinals players _ broadcasters Tim McCarver and Joe Torre _ were considered before Maxvill was offered the position, The Sporting News reported.

“I’ve been a Cardinals fan since I was 3,” said Maxvill, a native of Granite City, Ill. “My mother and father took me to see Enos Slaughter, Terry Moore and Red Schoendienst.”

Schoendienst, a Cardinals coach in 1985, was Maxvill’s manager from 1965-72.

“Once, I was his boss,” Schoendienst said. “Now, he’s mine.”

Good deal

On April 2, 1985, Maxvill made his first trade, acquiring infielder Jose Oquendo from the Mets for infielder Angel Salazar and minor-league pitcher John Young. Oquendo played for the Cardinals from 1986-95. In 2015, he entered his 17th season as a Cardinals coach.

The Cardinals won two pennants, 1985 and 1987, with Maxvill as general manager.

“He turned out to be a hell of a baseball executive,” Herzog said of Maxvill. “… Maxie is smart and he caught on fast.”

Maxvill was Cardinals general manager from 1985-94 until he was fired by team president Mark Lamping and replaced by Walt Jocketty.

Previously: How ouster of Joe McDonald put Whitey Herzog in peril

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