The Cardinal Way, Part Two

Look for this feature on our manager, Ron “Pop” Warner, and pitching coach, Bryan “Gerdy” Eversgerd, in copies of the Bird Feeder program, available starting May 13 at home games at AutoZone Park.

Second of a three-part series. Part 1

Pitching Coach Bryan Eversgerd visits the mound

Pitching Coach Bryan Eversgerd visits the mound
(Allison Rhoades/Memphis Redbirds)

The St. Louis Cardinals recently won World Series Championships in 2006 and 2011. This success filters down through all levels of the farm system. The job of a minor-league manager and coach is to balance the player development with winning. “We try to win in the minor leagues, but not at all costs,” said Warner. “You’re not sacrificing the development of guys to win ball games. Development goes hand in hand. We try to teach them to win here. We’re developing major league players to go to St. Louis. We’re developing guys to go help us win championships in St. Louis. You take the wins and losses to heart, especially the losses. But it’s all about developing guys. ”

Eversgerd agreed with the sentiment. “I think sometimes as a by-product of the development and The Cardinal Way, you do win minor-league championships,” said Eversgerd. “Last year, (at Springfield), we had obviously a lot of talent and we went about it the right way. And at the end of the day, we were the last ones standing as a result of that hard work. That’s what we’re trying to do here, develop players with a winning way who can go to the big-league level and win championships, and have an impact.”

Warner was the Redbirds’ first Pacific Coast League All-Star in 1998. He played at Tim McCarver Stadium in Memphis and remembers that time. “That year I was fortunate enough to play every day,” said Warner. “I had been a utility guy and got slotted into the everyday spot at third base after an injury to our third baseman. I was fortunate after that to get some consistent at bats and have some success and make the All-Star team, which was a neat accomplishment for me because I had never been an All-Star before as a utility guy.”

Manager Ron "Pop" Warner played for the Redbirds from 1998-99

Manager Ron “Pop” Warner played for the Redbirds from 1998-99
(Memphis Redbirds)

“Tim McCarver Stadium was a good little facility, turf infield, grass outfield,” Warner went on. “No batting cage, the dugouts were small and old school, not a lot of room in there. Our clubhouse was down the left field line, theirs down the right field line, just a building they built. But we grew as a team. We had really good character guys on our team.”

Comparing the differences and similarities to players from their playing days and today, Eversgerd and Warner both said guys throw harder now. “Everyone’s throwing 95 out of the pen,” Warner said. In regards to work ethic and attitudes, Warner said the differences are individualized. “It all depends on their character, how they were brought up. It was like that when we played, too. This year, we’ve got great character guys.”

The biggest difference in regards to players of today is the money aspect of the game. Players are making more now than Warner and Eversgerd did when they played. “They’re fortunate enough now that these kids don’t have to work now besides baseball,” Eversgerd said. “Pop and I talk about it all the time, used to, when the season was over, you’d go home and start your other job. Nowadays, some are able to focus on baseball year-round, which is a good thing.” The list of off-season jobs he held is rattled off by Warner with a laugh, “You’d go home and drive a septic tank truck, pour foundation, roof homes…” Eversgerd added, “work as a diesel mechanic.”

Part Three coming on Friday, April 19


  1. Pingback: The Cardinal Way, Part Three « Chirp Chatter
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