Cheap Seats

Happy 90th, Red Schoendienst

Happy birthday to the ol' redhead.

Former Cardinals manager and player Red Schoendienst, who still tutors Cardinals players on the finer points of the game, turned 90 years old today.

Schoendienst, after a career in which he hit .289 and in single seasons led the Redbirds in doubles and hits, became the club's manager in 1965 when skipper Johnny Keane suddenly stepped down.

Despite his lack of experience, Schoendienst managed the Cardinals to a pair of National League pennants and a World Series title in 12 seasons at the helm. He was relieved, which was really an unfair situation for him, when the Birds were rebuilding in 1976.

But, always a classy guy, Schoendienst remained with the Birds as a coach.

Schoendienst twice after his original stint as manager was asked to fill in as the Redbirds' leader on a temporary basis both in 1980 and then again in 1990.

The ultimate company man, Schoendienst has taught generations of players the Cardinals way of playing baseball. It still gives me the warm fuzzies to see him bust out a fungo in spring training to hit a few fly balls.

And I always appreciate a guy who is more concerned about the welfare of the team rather than the glorification of himself.

So, happy birthday -- and many more -- to Red.