Hey there folks, I’m back from vacation. I had a good time, and it felt good to get away. On to blogging.
A while back, the Cards hired an old friend of the organization, former player Willie McGee, to be a coach. Willie’s role wasn’t specified.
A little disclaimer: I grew up in the 80’s, and Willie was my favorite player, but for reasons other than stats. I liked him because he was like me. I was this super skinny kid with a long neck, and there was a player who looked like me in regards to physical build, not necessarily like what you’d imagine a baseball player to look like. he was my Altuve.
As a player, Willie flashed a variety of skills. He won an MVP, a Silver Slugger, 2 batting titles, 3 Gold Gloves, and stole 352 bases. He didn’t hit many homers (79 in 2201 games) but power wasn’t emphasized as much in the 80’s, when he won the MVP with 10 homers (though his slugging percentage was over .500 thanks to a league leading 18 triples.) His career average was .295, with lifetime of .333, so he was more of a contact hitter than an obp guy.
That wide range of skills opens a lot of doors for him coaching wise. Willie could work with our outfielders on their defense, giving them positioning tips, etc. He could be a baserunning coach, giving tips there as well. Kolten Wong has some speed, having stolen 20 bases a few years back. Willie could help him get back in touch with his inner speedster.
The most interesting role for him though would be as a hitting coach, simply because he doesn’t fit, but in a good way.
Willie is a throwback to a bygone era where players didn’t need power to be successful. he wasn’t a power hitter coming up, and he didn’t try to change that. That’s a mindset current players don’t necessarily allow themselves to have. They change who they are in order to succeed, and sometimes become worse players in the process.
As a hitting coach, he could help players work with who they already are, using himself as an example. He could help them become the best version of themselves as a hitter.
He’d certainly be a better choice for the job than John Mabry, who’s the ultimate “Those who can’t, teach” hitting coach.
Just some food for thought on our new coach. Welcome back Willie, from one skinny guy with a long neck to another.
As always, thanks for reading.