Upon having his name announced at Miller Park, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny trotted onto the field amid a scattering of applause. This was, of course, the organization that gave him his start, and it was here in Milwaukee, on April 4, 1994, that Matheny made his Major League debut.
He struck out in his only at-bat in that game, but went on to play parts of five seasons for the Brewers. His tenure with Milwaukee ended when he became a free agent and signed with the Blue Jays before the 1999 season.
"It was a good place to begin," Matheny said shortly before the first of 15 Cardinals-Brewers matchups this season. "When I came up through the organization, I think it was very much like how the Cardinals have their philosophy. I was very fortunate to have a very disciplined Minor League development that really focused on the fundamentals and playing the game hard, playing the game right. I was fortunate in that regard."
He named Del Crandall, then a catching instructor, Bruce Manno, former director of player development, and Bob Humphries, once a Minor League field coordinator in the organization, as among the most influential during his formative years. Milwaukee's current third-base coach, Ed Sedar, also worked with Matheny during his climb through the Minors.
"They just had some good people here," Matheny said, "that understood how to go about the game."