Pop quiz, hot shot: your manager just retired following a World Series win. He was the most experienced and successful and savvy guy to manage a major league baseball team in decades. You need someone to follow that act, somehow. Who do you hire? WHO DO YOU HIRE?!
Why, you hire a guy with absolutely no experience whatsoever.
Well, at least no managerial experience. Matheny did play 13 years in the bigs with four teams, five in St. Louis. During that entire time, there were people saying that he was managerial material. They say that about a lot of catchers, but they always seemed to say it more about Matheny than anyone.
Also in his favor: he’s not just coming into the organization cold. He’s worked with the Cardinals for a while now, doing some minor league instruction. According Ken Rosenthal’s report yesterday — in which he really disliked the idea of Matheny getting the job — he has forged a strong relationship with Dave Duncan. That’s pretty big considering that it probably means that Duncan is not going anyplace, which may not have been the case if a different manager was hired. It will also give him some added credibility.
All of that said, yeah. No managerial experience. Not even any high-level coaching experience. He’ll command respect because he always has, but there is not a long list of successful managers who came in this green.
With Matheny, and with Robin Ventura with the White Sox, we’ll see if that trend can change.