By Rob Rains
The top story in St. Louis sports in 2018 came in July when the Cardinals fired manager Mike Matheny, the first time in more than 20 years the team changed managers during the season.
Not since Joe Torre was let go in 1995 had the Cardinals fired a manager in mid-season, but team ownership and management made the decision to make the move with the Cardinals limping to the All-Star break.
The managerial change was announced in a press release from the team more than an hour after a loss to the Reds on July 14, one game before the start of the All-Star break.
At a news conference the following morning, team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak discussed the decision. Here is our story from that day:
Earlier this week, we revealed the other stories which made the list of the top seven stories in St. Louis sports in 2018:
Number 2- Cardinals acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks
On Dec. 5 the Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt in a trade for a package that included Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly.
Goldschmidt will take over first base for the Cardinals in 2019 with Matt Carpenter moving back to play third. Goldschmidt, 31, has made the All-Star team the last six years while winning four Silver Slugger awards and three Rawlings Gold Gloves.
Here are the links to our story about the trade and the audio of Goldschmidt’s introductory press conference in St. Louis:
Number 3 – Blues fire coach Mike Yeo
The Blues fired Yeo on Nov. 19 after the team got off to a disappointing start to the season. The team had made a series of moves over the summer that raised expectations for the Blues and general manager Doug Armstrong admitted Yeo paid the price for the poor start.
Armstrong talked about the decision the day after Yeo was fired. Here is the link to our story:
Number 4 – Cardinals miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year
This was the first time the Cardinals went that long without reaching the playoffs since another three-year absence from 1997 to 1999.
The Cardinals were in the battle for a wild-card spot until the last weekend of the season, but finished with an 88-74 record, 2 ½ games out of the last playoff spot.
The fact they got into contention in the final month of the season was somewhat surprising, since they were around .500 for much of the first half of the season before making a managerial change.
A 22-6 record in August fueled the playoff push, but ultimately the reliance on so many young players caught up with the Cardinals in September, when they closed the season with a 12-15 record in the final month.
Number 5 – Red Schoendienst dies at age of 95
Nobody wore a Cardinals uniform longer, or better, than Schoendienst, first as a player, then as a coach, manager and special assistant. He died on June 6.
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989. Schoendienst’s career in professional baseball lasted more than 70 years. A fixture at Busch Stadium, Schoendienst had been in poor health for several months prior to his death.
Here is the link to our Schoendienst obituary:
Number 6 – PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club
Brooks Koepka shot matching rounds of 66 on the final two days of the tournament to earn a two-shot victory over Tiger Woods. Woods fired a 64 on the final round, the lowest score of his career on the final day of a major tournament.
It was the third win in a major for Koepka, who became only the fifth American to claim three major titles before the age of 29, joining a select group of Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson and Woods.
Koepka’s final score of 264 for 72 holes marked the lowest score in the history of the PGA Championship.
Number 7 – Wacha loses no-hit bid in ninth inning
Pitching against the Pirates on June 3 at Busch Stadium, Michael Wacha came within three outs of pitching a no-hitter. Colin Moran ended his bid with a pinch-hit single leading off the ninth inning.
It was the second time in Wacha’s career he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning.
No Cardinal has thrown a no-hitter in St. Louis since Bob Forsch did it in 1983.
Here is the link to our coverage of Wacha’s gem:
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains