ST. LOUIS -- Shortly after learning that the Reds had dismissed manager Dusty Baker after six seasons, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny spoke of his appreciation for the interest Baker showed in him as he was trying to figure out his post-playing career path.
Matheny said that Baker reached out to him not long after concussions ended his career in 2006. Baker had managed against Matheny the catcher while leading the Giants (1993-2002) and Cubs ('03-06).
"You see a lot about somebody when they have nothing to gain," Matheny said. "He was just reaching out to me as a former player to encourage me and help me figure out what my next step was going to be. He made a huge impression on me."
Those conversations stopped after Matheny accepted the Cards' managerial offer, but mutual respect remained between the two National League Central skippers. In two years managing against Baker's Reds, Matheny's club posted a 19-15 record.
"I've got nothing but respect for Dusty on a professional level, and personal, too," Matheny said. "To me, his teams have always competed hard, and he's always there for his club. He's had a lot of success as a manager, and I know a lot of his players think highly of him."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.