Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hemond had a large role...

Now that the season is over, a perfect question to now ask is who will play Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in Three Nights in August.

The Post-Dispatch compares 1982 to 2006. One difference: I was not alive in 1982.

Adam Wainwright's status as a Cardinal is most definitely on the rise. I had the chance to meet him in May at Great American. He's a nice guy and along with most of the bullpen, he was signing autographs for everyone that day.

It is kind of sad that former Cardinal outfielder Andy Van Slyke does not have a ring in his career, whether it was as a player or as a coach. If Jose Oquendo does actually leave to manage somewhere, they should bring in Van Slyke as a coach.
The downside, of course, is that Van Slyke still does not have a ring, having lost as a Cardinal in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series and as a Pirate in three consecutive National League Championship Series from 1990-92.

"I don't know how to describe it," said Van Slyke, who rarely is at a loss for words, and then he found some. "It's like you get to a championship fight and you get knocked out. It ain't no fun."

This isn't at all what Van Slyke, nor his friends, many of them Cardinals fans, had expected.

His friends are "shocked, and happy," Van Slyke said. "From our conversations before this week, it was like, 'Don't beat up on us too badly.'"
It is interesting to note the role that former Diamondbacks executive Roland Hemond had in all of this.
Hemond has been in professional baseball since 1951 when he joined the front office of the Hartford Chiefs of the Eastern League. He moved to the majors the next season with the Boston Braves and has been one of the best and brightest in the game since.

These days, he is special assistant to White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, who has the job Hemond held in Chicago from 1971-85. Hemond also was scouting and farm director of the expansion Angels from 1961-70, general manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1988-95 and senior vice president of the Diamondbacks from 1996-2000.

It was during his time as GM of the White Sox that Hemond set the Cardinals and Tigers on the path to this year's waterlogged World Series. He did it by hiring the best baseball minds he could find and giving them the freedom to grow.

His manager was Tony La Russa. His third base coach was Jim Leyland. His assistant GM was Dave Dombrowski. And working for Hemond at the team's Triple-A affiliate before that was Walt Jocketty.
For Scott Rolen of Jasper, it couldn't have been much better.
"I don't think it gets any more special than this," Rolen said.

For the third baseman, a 31-year-old Jasper native, the Cardinals' World Series clincher against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night couldn't have tasted any better. The Cardinals, and Rolen himself, had tasted enough failure in this season, they probably would like to spit it out. But that was all gone amid a champagne and beer hurricane that quickly engulfed the locker room after the players charged off the field.

"A lot of people said we backed into the playoffs," Rolen said. "We didn't care about that. We cared that we made playoffs, and we turned it around and started playing good baseball."
Who has the recipe for wins? None other than catcher turned pitching coach Dave Duncan.

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