ST. LOUIS — With a few deep breaths, some pauses and smiles, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt broke his silence to mostly say “thank you” for his time in the organization.
Shildt held a Zoom meeting with members of the media Monday morning to share a message as he exits the Cardinals organization after 18 years. He described it as a “very blessed” career with the club.
“I did my best at every turn to be a good caretaker of the Cardinals legacy,” he said. “I invested my heart, soul and most of my professional career in helping maintain and being a part of an organization that I care more about than I care about my own career.”
Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak last week announced in a last-minute news conference that Shildt was being let go. He said they were “struggling to get on the same page” and that they had a “philosophical difference” in the direction the club should go.
Shildt acknowledged the reason they parted ways but declined to go into detail.
“While clearly there were differences that led to this parting of ways, out of respect for the organization and the people that run it, I can only express my gratitude and all those philosophies that were shared over the years – most of which were together – allowed us to part ways as professional friends,” Shildt said. "And what differences there were will be left to remain unsaid.”
Instead, he encouraged baseball fans to move forward and “take care of maintaining the integrity of the future of the organization.”
Watch Shildt's full message in the YouTube video below:
Shildt spent most of the 10-minute statement listing the many people who’ve helped him along the way, including the players he worked with over the years.
“My primary purpose in 13 years in player development and five years in big leagues was to help players realize and get the most out of their God-given talent,” Shildt said. “And beyond baseball, I hope they know how much I cared for them. I love you all and respect you very much.”
He added that he’s at peace with how he left the players and staff at the end of the Cardinals’ 2021 season and said he’s excited for what’s to come in 2022.
Shildt also thanked a roster full of baseball greats, including fellow coaches like Tony La Russa, staff members and a slew of former Cardinals players like Albert Pujols, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. He said conversations with those mentors were full of “wisdom, encouragement, hard truths and tough love.” He added that those talks were always rooted in doing what was best for the Cards organization – both on and off the field.
Throughout his list of thank you messages, Shildt had moments when he needed to pause and take a deep breath. But it was the thought of his wife and family that brought tears to his eyes.
“I’m also most grateful,” he said, stopping for several seconds. “There’s no crying in baseball,” he quipped with a smile. “… for my beautiful and supportive wife, Michelle, and amazing stepdaughters. They have been amazing support for me over the last three years and beyond rocks for me during this challenging transition.”
As for what’s next, Shildt said he’s looking forward to connecting more with his family, but he also eluded that his baseball career might not be over yet.
“I definitely look forward to the next opportunity in baseball, which I’m sure will be many, and help grow the players and our great game that we all love deeply,” Shildt said.