ST. LOUIS (KSDK Sports) - He is back. Willie McGee, number 51 is back as a Cardinal. But instead of chasing down fly balls in center, McGee's new job will be as Special Assistant to the General Manager.
The club announced the move on Wednesday. McGee, 54,will focus his years of experience and attention on the Cardinals top rated minor league organization. He was recently in Jupiter where he was wearing #51 and giving out advice to any Cardinal who would listen, including giving a lecture on the art of base stealing.
"We are pleased to announce Willie's return to the Cardinals organization," said Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "Willie has a wealth of experience in the game and he is eager to pass on his observations and teachings."
McGee, beloved by Cardinals fans, spent 18 years in the majors with St. Louis (1982-90, 1996-99), Oakland (1990), San Francisco (1991-94) and Boston (1995). The switch-hitting outfielder compiled a .295 batting mark with 79 home runs, 856 RBI and 352 stolen bases in 2,201 games played.
McGee currently ranks among the Cardinals top-10 career leaders in games played (1,661), triples (83), stolen bases (301), and pinch-hits (59).
Wearing his familiar uniform #51, McGee first drew acclaim during the Cardinals 1982 World Championship season. He earned National League MVP honors in 1985 with a league-leading .353 batting mark, helping the Cardinals to an N.L. Championship.
His .353 batting mark from 1985 still stands as the best ever by a Cardinals switch-hitter as do his 216 hits that season. McGee had 17 game-winning RBI that season, also the top all-time mark amongst Redbird switch-hitters.
McGee would again lead the senior circuit in batting (.335) in 1990 even though he was traded to Oakland in late August. The San Francisco native enjoyed All-Star seasons in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1988 and he earned three Rawlings Gold Glove awards (1983, 1985, 1986).
McGee was a 1st round draft pick by the New York Yankees during the January secondary phase of the draft in 1977. He was dealt to the Cardinals in October of 1981 for pitcher Bob Sykes.