"It was a great opportunity and an unbelievable experience," Stanley, 26, said before leaving. "I can only be here the first time, one time. I just appreciate them giving me the opportunity to help the team out in those ballgames. I look forward to doing it again."
Among the highlights of his stay was collecting his first Major League hit (a line-drive single) in his first Major League at-bat on Sunday. As Stanley ran to first, the camera caught Molina emphatically cheering on his fellow backstop from the dugout.
"He gives me all the support in the world," Stanley said of the veteran catcher. "I can't explain the feeling, but these guys make me feel welcome. Hopefully in the future, I'll be here. I can't wait for that. They make me feel like I'm a part of this."
If the Cardinals don't have a catching need at the Major League level again this year, Stanley will spend the rest of it splitting time behind the plate in Memphis with Ed Easley. He has positioned himself to be remembered when September callup time rolls around, too.
"I think if you design how you want a young player to come in, there's a sense of humility, but there's also excitement. He's that kind of player," manager Mike Matheny said. "There's an energy and an optimism and an excitement about the game that he brings, which, I think, kind of lends itself just to being a learner.
"He was sitting down with Tony and sitting down with Yadi and taking crazy notes, trying to take in as much as he can. That tells a lot about what his mind-set was. It wasn't to be here on vacation in front of 40,000 people. I think he realizes this is a great learning opportunity to help him not just get back here but to stick here."