Cardinal Manager Matheny Shares There's Much More to Life Than Baseball


Published on February 2 2016 4:40 pm
Last Updated on February 2 2016 4:40 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Cardinals and Cubs fans gathered together Tuesday in Effngham to hear Cardinals manager Mike Matheny share that there's much more to life than baseball, namely, a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Matheny was the guest speaker at a gathering attended by almost 1,000 people at the Thelma Keller Convention Center on behalf of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


The Cardinals' skipper said, "The impact of a coach in a season is greater than that of an average person in a lifetime."

Matheny said he was a church-going kid growing up outside Columbus, Ohio, but finally understood that a relationship is what matters, not just religion. When he understood, his parents used the Bible to show him that a relationship is what God desires with people.

Matheny, though, said he still wasn't living out his faith. Once he reached rookie ball, Matheny encountered a preacher who challenged him to be upfront about his relationship with God. The phrase Matheny shared was "take advantage of the platform you have." He embraced that philosophy and it has been a marker in his life.

Matheny said FCA is something he's supported for 30 years. As a kid who wanted to stay away from some of the things other young people were pursuing, Matheny said FCA was great. He said he saw older athletes alive in their walk for Christ and that encouraged him.

Regarding his work as a manager, Matheny said it is 10% baseball, and 90% people and leading them. He said the Cardinals have 200 players in their farm system and said he asked, "What do I want to tell them?' He established an acronym: EDGES. It stands for Education, Discipline, Grit, Energy, and Selflessness, or Selflessly Serving Others. He said Jesus taught to "serve, and not to be served."

As far as education, Matheny said when he was named Cardinals manager, with no previous managerial experience, he went to the retiring Tony LaRussa, who had been his manager in St. Louis and asked for advice. LaRussa simply said, "learn something new every day." LaRussa told him, "When you're through learning, you're through." Matheny said he put the advice into practice, reading devotional and motivational books. He has since written "The Matheny Manifesto" subtitled "A Young Manager's Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life", and shares some of his beliefs.

FCA's Luke Hohlt, who oversees a 12-county area including Effingham County, opened the gathering and introduced Matheny. Hohlt also shared that there is such an active FCA movement in Effingham County, they are looking at having a director solely for the county.

South Central High School graduate Spencer Patton, now a member of the Chicago Cubs bullpen, opened the gathering with prayer. Patton said he was surprised to be traded by Texas, but was pleased that the Cubs approached Texas about him; it wasn't a case of the Rangers looking to deal him away.

Other area professional baseball players were on hand, including Nick Gardewine, Chad Green, Ross Wolf and Sam Thoele, and signed autographs ahead of Matheny's speech.