Mike Shildt once had the opportunity to learn some of the baseball coaching ropes from one of the greats, the late George Kissell. Now, their names are forever linked as Shildt, manager of the Appalachian League champion Johnson City Cardinals, has been voted the 2010 recipient of the George Kissell Award for excellence in player development in the St. Louis Cardinals system.
The well-deserved recognition was announced by farm director John Vuch at the Cardinals annual minor league spring training orientation meeting held Friday afternoon, March 11 in Jupiter, Florida.
|The late George Kissell|
“It was a well deserved honor for Mike,” Vuch said. “The entire staff votes on the award now and it was an overwhelming response in his favor. He really does a great job for us.”
Kissell essentially wrote the book that defines “The Cardinal Way” as a player, manager and teaching leader of the organization from 1940 until he passed away in the fall of 2008 due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident.
The Cardinals recognized Kissell’s importance long before his untimely passing, first establishing the Award in 1995 to recognize a member of the organizational staff for excellence in player development. Not surprisingly, Kissell himself received the first Award.
As Vuch noted, the winner was chosen through voting by the Cardinals minor league field staff, with the peer recognition making it all the more meaningful. That change in the selection process was made in 2008.
Shildt, the Appalachian League's Manager of the Year and The Cardinal Nation Manager of the Year, will return in 2011 for his third summer as skipper of Johnson City. Last season, his team posted a 46-24 record and Johnson City’s title was their first in 34 years.
|Shildt hoisted the Appy League trophy|
The native of Charlotte, NC has done more than manage players. He has served as coordinator for Cardinals minor league spring training, extended spring training and the fall instructional camp. Shildt has worked for the organization for eight years, including time as a scout and prior to that was a coach at the collegiate level.
Last fall, long before the Kissell Award for 2010 had been decided, Shildt’s past and present leader, Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn, made perhaps the ultimate compliment when he told me the following.
“To put it simply, George Kissell would love Mike Shildt. If George was alive today, he’d say, ‘That’s a Cardinal, a real Cardinal.’”
Congratulations to the George Kissell Award winner for 2010, Mike Shildt.
Exclusive for The Cardinal Nation subscribers: Shildt discusses what Kissell and the Award means to him and notes many of those who have helped him along the way.
Listen to Audio (3:32)
George Kissell Award winners
||Johnson City (SS-R) manager|
||Memphis (AAA) Manager|
||Batavia (SS-A) Manager|
||Minor League Hitting Instructor|
||Springfield (AA) Manager|
||Ron "Pop" Warner
||Palm Beach (A-Adv) Manager|
||Tennessee (AA) Pitching Coach|
||Tennessee (AA) Manager|
||Peoria (A) Manager|
||Memphis (AAA) Pitching Coach|
||Memphis (AAA) Manager|
||Minor League Pitching Coordinator|
||Minor League Field Coordinator|
||Memphis (AAA) Athletic Trainer|
||Minor League Pitching Instructor|
Link to related article: “Celebrating Johnson City’s 2010 Championship”
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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