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.
Happy New Year from the Memphis Redbirds!
Memphis coaching staff back intact for 2011 season
*Left to right: Manager Chris Maloney, Hitting Rover Mark DeJohn and Hitting Coach Mark Budaska
MEMPHIS, TN – Manager Chris Maloney will return to Memphis to manage the Redbirds for the fifth straight season in 2011.
Maloney led the ‘Birds to their second consecutive Conference title this past season with a series sweep of Oklahoma City. The former Mississippi State Bulldog is 290-284 in four seasons with the Redbirds.Joining Maloney will be pitching coach Blaise Ilsley and hitting coach Mark Budaska, who both return to Memphis for their fourth season. Ilsley’s pitchers posted a 4.42 ERA for an 82-62 overall 2010 record, a Pacific CoastLeague-best. Budaska coached the hitters to their best batting average since 2009 with the team hitting .272 last season. Athletic Trainer Chris Conroy will also be back in the Redbirds dugout for his seventh year in Memphis.
The Redbirds begin their 12th season at AutoZone Park in April. They will take on the Oklahoma City RedHawks Thursday, April 7th at 7:05 p.m to kick off their Pacific Coast League home schedule. For ticket information visit memphisredbirds.com or call (901) 722-0299.
Outfielder Joe Mather is claimed off waivers by Atlanta Braves
Around 2:00 p.m. yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals announced on Twitter that Joe Mather had been claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t more than five minutes later when hundreds of tweets appeared from Cardinals fans, sad to see their beloved “Joey Bombs” depart. Joe was touched to hear about all the support people expressed.
“That’s great, my mom told me she read some of the (Tweets)…I don’t get on the computer a whole lot and read any of it, but to hear that some people were sad to see me go- there were a lot of really nice things said, and to hear that is very humbling and it touches me all the way to my heart. That’s another thing about the Cardinals, the fans are amazing and I’ll definitely miss them too, there’s nothing like a Cardinals fan.”
Mather joined the Cardinals organization in 2001 after being selected in the third round (104th overall) of the June free-agent draft. He made his big league debut May 30th, 2008 displaying his talent in two different stints with St. Louis that year. The Arizona resident appeared in 90 games as a Cardinal from 2008-2010 with a .233 average (45Hx193AB), 27 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 21 RBI. Plagued with hand and wrist injuries, specifically a left hamate bone that was broken late 2008, Mather has had a hard time recovering and attaining the same success since his exceptional rookie season in the big leagues. Although he showed promise during 2010 spring training and landed himself a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, the right-hander was recalled to Memphis May 28th.
Relied upon as a right fielder while with the Redbirds, Mather was capable of playing first base, third base, left field and center field also. After becoming a key player in the 2010 ‘Birds lineup, he was able to work on improving his performance, collecting 46 RBI and 55 runs in 91 regular season games. Mather also hit 12 home runs, including two bombs in game two of the playoffs against Oklahoma City, recognizing him as the first and only Redbird to hit two home runs in a single playoff game.
“That’s awesome,” he said after being told of his accomplishment. “There’s a lot of history…a lot of great players who have been here so it’s an honor to have that.”
Throughout the years, Mather has been a familiar face of the Memphis Redbirds and the Cardinals’ organization. He has enjoyed interacting with the fans at each level of baseball and made some lasting impressions, developing a large fan base. Joe Mather will be missed by Cardinals fans, who are upset to see him leave, but excited to see what he will do with this opportunity.
“Thank you, the biggest thing would be thank you.” Mather directed towards the fans. “Cardinals’ fans were always great to me, my family and friends. I’d be very surprised if I found better fans than the Cardinals anywhere. I’ll miss them and the love and support that I received; I’ll always respect and be a fan of Cardinals fans. They’re awesome, I’m going to miss you all and thanks again.”
A respected veteran of the Redbirds, several teammates looked up to Joe; as a role model or someone to depend on, but most of all, as a friend. We wish him the best of luck beginning a new journey with the Atlanta Braves and hope to see his hard work and positive attitude put to good use.
Rich Rundles was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the the 3rd round of the 1999 amateur draft at the age of 18. He is currently the first and only player from Jefferson County to ever be drafted right out of high school.
After playing in the Red Sox organization for two full seasons, he was traded to the Montreal Expos half way through his third season where stayed from 2001-2005. In 2006, Rundles signed with the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded that same year to the New York Mets. The left-hander signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians February of 2007 staying put until joining the Memphis Redbirds for the 2010 season.
While with the Indians organization, Rundles made his major league debut September 3rd, 2008. He appeared in eight games in the big leagues surrendering one run on five hits while walking three and striking out six in five innings of work that year. The following year he spent most of his time with the triple-A Columbus Clippers but joined the Cleveland Indians for one game, May 24.
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Full name: Richard Lambert Rundles
Nicknames: Richie, Rundy, that’s about it.
Hometown: Jefferson City, TN
Favorite baseball player of all time: Growing up, it was Dale Murphy.
What team did you watch growing up?Atlanta Braves
What is your best moment on the diamond? Probably my first time pitching in the big leagues.
If you weren’t in baseball, what would you be doing? Something to do with architecture.
Favorite play in a baseball game: A diving play or a behind-the-back catch by the pitcher.
Most embarrassing moment while playing baseball: Again, my first major league outing. There was a squirrel that ran up on the mound.
If you were a kid would you rather be the one in Rookie of the Year, Angels in the Outfield or Little Big League? Rookie of the
What is the most difficult part about playing professional baseball? The every day grind.
What is your favorite thing about being a Redbird? It’s pretty cool to be playing in my home state.
Tell us one thing about you the fans don’t already know: I used to ride mini horses in the rodeo when I was younger.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A baseball player
Where do you see yourself in 25 years? Somewhere in East Tennessee on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
Favorite food: Fried Okra, simply because every time I go home my Grandma makes it for me.
Newest Hobby: This off-season I made my own board game. That was pretty fun. I made all the pieces, boards, cards and the dice.
I’m afraid of…snakes.
Who is your greatest influence? My dad, for sure.
Who do people say you look like? Shaggy, from Scooby-Doo
Do you have any autographs? I do, probably the most important one I have is from Hank Aaron. Pretty cool.
What do you like best about the city of Memphis? The fan support of the Redbirds
Any broken bone stories? When I was four my cousin and I were always competitive against each other and we were jumping down the stairs. One would jump down and the other would say “well, I can jump on the higher one.” So I went to the top, jumped down and broke my left arm. My Grandmother did not want to tell my dad because it was my left arm so they tried to hide it for a
Describe yourself in five words or less: Tall.
Three things you can’t live without: My wife, family and friends.
Lightning Round Responses
Dogs or Cats
Summer or Winter
Fruits or Vegetables
Movies or Books
Offense or Defense
Ketchup or Mustard
Sunflower Seeds or Bubble Gum
Have the ability to fly or read people’s minds
Know it all or have it all
Be able to stop time while you slept or never have to do laundry
Hit a grand slam or turn a triple play to win a game
That’s a wrap for Mr. Rundles.