Shildt: 'I can only express my gratitude'

Former manager thanks the Cardinals’ organization, looks forward to the club’s future

October 18th, 2021

ST. LOUIS -- Former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt acknowledged the differences between him and the club that led to his dismissal on Monday but declined to delve further into details, instead placing the focus on his gratitude to the organization for entrusting him in various roles over the past 18 years.

“I was taught not to talk out of school, and while clearly there were differences that have led to this parting of ways, out of respect for the organization and the people that run it, I can only express my gratitude,” Shildt said in a teary Zoom statement hosted by the Cardinals. “All those philosophies that were shared over the many years … allowed us to part ways as professional friends. And what differences there were, will be left unsaid publicly by me.

“I respect and hope that any rumors that are out there can be left to just -- let's move forward, and let’s take care of maintaining the integrity of the future of the organization.”

Shildt was dismissed as manager on Thursday after what president of baseball operations John Mozeliak described as a “[coming] to a head” of philosophical differences between Shildt and the front office. It ended his 3 1/2-year stint as manager, during which he led the Cardinals to the postseason in all three of his full campaigns, the last of which ended in the National League Wild Card Game eight days before his dismissal.

Shildt was under contract for the 2022 season; the Cardinals hope to name a replacement by the middle of November.

“I’m at peace with the way I've left the players and the staff in a very positive vision,” Shildt said. “I'm excited for the team in 2022.”

Shildt did not take questions from reporters. He did not share his professional plans going forward, other than to say: “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 dearly.” The Athletic reported on Sunday that the Padres plan to interview Shildt for their managerial opening.

In acknowledging the end of his 18-year run in the organization, Shildt thanked a laundry list of individuals, including chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and the ownership group, Mozeliak and his front office, Mike Matheny for giving him a shot in the Majors, Bob Gibson and several other late Hall of Famers for their guidance and franchise cornerstone George Kissell, with whom Shildt absorbed a fountain of leadership qualities.

In thanking his coaching staff, Shildt highlighted Oliver Marmol, his bench coach over the past three seasons. He appears one of the favorites to land the managerial gig. Shildt scouted Marmol as a player ahead of the 2007 Draft, and the two have maintained an even closer bond working alongside each other.

“They were a huge asset for what we were able to accomplish at the big league level, and especially Oli, who has my deepest and most-trusted respect,” Shildt said, also referring to bullpen catcher Kleininger Teran and run production coach Patrick Elkins, all of whom he managed in the Minors.

Battling tears throughout his statement, Shildt struggled to find words in one instance and paused before offering the adage, “There’s no crying in baseball.” He then thanked his wife, Michelle, who he married during Spring Training 2020, and his two stepdaughters for sticking by his side.

Whichever organization welcomes Shildt into their wings next will receive an individual publicly lauded by those who know him as intensely loyal. He was a Cardinal lifer, never playing professionally and earning respect of his peers and players for a work ethic that let him rise all the way up the organization to its highest peak of coaching.

“My sincere gratitude to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, who took a chance on an eager, young baseball man and developed him into the man that I am today,” Shildt said. “I did my best at every turn to be a good caretaker of the Cardinals’ legacy. I invested my heart, soul and most of my professional career in helping maintain and be a part of an organization that I cared more about than I cared about my own career.”