Stan Musial, rarely publicly critical of anyone, so strongly disapproved of the way Charlie Metro left the Cardinals’ organization that he spoke out about it.
Metro, who died March 18, 2011, in Virginia at 91, had managed the Cardinals’ Class AAA Tulsa team to an 85-62 record and first-place finish in the Pacific Coast League in 1966.
In January 1967, Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam resigned to accept a three-year contract as general manager of the Reds. Musial replaced Howsam.
Shortly thereafter, on Feb. 16, 1967, Metro resigned, just as spring training was to begin. Some publications reported Metro was going into private business. Then, the Reds announced Howsam hired Metro to be a major-league scout.
On March 18, 1967, Jack Herman, writing for The Sporting News, reported on Metro’s departure from the Cardinals:
“Musial … deplored the fact that the ex-Tulsa manager didn’t ‘level with us.’ When Metro … resigned in February, he said he was entering the banking business in Denver. Two weeks later, he joined his benefactor, Bob Howsam, as a Reds troubleshooter.”
Others from the Cardinals organization were leaving to join Howsam in Cincinnati, too.
Musial, on the recommendation of Tulsa Oilers owner A. Ray Smith, hired Warren Spahn to replace Metro. That apparently disappointed Sparky Anderson, who had managed the Cardinals’ St. Petersburg farm club to a first-place finish in 1966 and believed he should have been in line for the Tulsa opening. Instead, Anderson was assigned to Modesto in 1967. After leading Modesto to a first-place finish, Anderson left the Cardinals and took a minor-league managing job with the Reds.
Metro initially joined the Cardinals as manager of their farm team in Montgomery, Ala., in 1950. He led Montgomery to a 77-54 record and third-place spot in the Southeastern League, but Montgomery lost its St. Louis affiliation the next year and Metro was out of the Cardinals’ organization.
Metro managed the Chicago Cubs for part of the 1962 season as one of their experimental rotation of head coaches. In 1965, Metro was a coach on the staff of Chicago White Sox manager Al Lopez.
After the 1965 season, Metro replaced Roberto Clemente as manager of the San Juan Senators in Puerto Rico’s winter league. While Metro was there, Lopez resigned from the White Sox.
Metro’s stint in San Juan wasn’t going well. The team was 13-17 and ownership complained Metro was more interested in player development than he was in winning games. On Nov. 29, Metro resigned and returned to the U.S.
A few days later, the White Sox hired former Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky to replace Lopez. Told he could remain in the White Sox organization but not on Stanky’s coaching staff, Metro accepted Howsam’s offer to manage Tulsa.
The top players at Tulsa included pitcher Steve Carlton (9-5, 3.59 ERA in 19 starts) and outfielders Alex Johnson (14 home runs, 56 RBI, .355 batting average in 80 games) and Ted Savage (18 homers, 80 RBI, .317 batting mark in 108 games).
“Ted is really something,” Metro told The Sporting News in July 1966. “He can do everything _ and well. I consider him a better center fielder than eight of those now up in the big leagues.”
Metro finished runner-up to Seattle’s Bob Lemon for the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year Award. Some publications speculated Howsam was grooming Metro to replace Red Schoendienst as manager.
Then, Howsam abruptly left for the security of the multi-year contract with Cincinnati, Metro followed, and Musial, Schoendienst and the Cardinals went on to win the NL pennant and World Series championship in 1967.