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.
The transition from playing to coaching was smooth for both Eversgerd and Warner, helped in part by staying in the same organization. “For me, it wasn’t that much of a transition,” said Warner. “For the last couple years playing I was the fourth coach anyway, me and a couple other guys. You take on that role as an older player. My last year I was 29 years old. That’s the beautiful thing about Triple-A, you have your coaches and you have your veteran players teaching young guys how to approach and play the game. I did it, he (Eversgerd) did it, and I see it in guys now like Rob Johnson.”
Eversgerd added to the coaching conversation, “When you grow up in a system like the Cardinals, you feel like you can make the conversion at the end of your career. You teach the way that you learned – how to play the right way, you go on your past experience. When you’re an older guy in Triple-A, you become that guy. It’s an easy transition.”
This season, the Redbirds hope to develop their young talent while winning games the right way. “Finish games out, that’s what my expectations are,” said Warner. “We’ve played really good baseball so far. Played good defense, offensively we’ve hit and got good pitching. We just need to seal the deal.”
Eversgerd points to the good attitude of the players. “It’s nice to see the fight we have in these kids. We’ve been down and came back a few times already. Goes to show you the character and competitive nature we have on this team.”
Eversgerd relates a story about a game at Tim McCarver Stadium where his and Warner’s roles were flipped. During the second game of a double-header, Memphis was running low on players and brought Warner in to pitch while Eversgerd backed him up in left field. Warner recalls not giving up any runs and Eversgerd managed to fire in a throw over the cut-off man from left. Both laugh about the experience and Warner recalls other, less successful pitching outings he had.
For Pop and Gerdy, the current season is like almost all they’ve had before in their professional baseball lives. They are dedicated to passing along what it means to play, learn, teach and live the right way – the professional, Cardinal Way.
Did You Know?
Pop and Gerdy are the second and third former Redbirds players to also coach for the team. Danny Sheaffer played for the Redbirds in 1998, and managed the club from 2003-06.