The Springfield Cardinals announced their 2006 minor league coaching assignments Wednesday. Returning for his second season in Springfield and 11th overall in the organization, Chris Maloney will again serve as the Cardinals manager in 2006. In addition to Maloney, Blaise Ilsley will return as pitching coach and Joe Cunningham has been named hitting coach.
Maloney enters his 14th season as a minor league manager and coach, spending most of that time in the Cardinals organization. He has a 705-608 (.537) overall record in his 11 seasons as manager with the Cardinals, including a 70-70 record with Springfield in their inaugural season. The 44-year-old native from Jackson, MS., has received Manager of the Year honors in three different leagues within the Cardinals system, the last being in the Texas League with Arkansas in 1998. Prior to Springfield, Maloney had spent the last three seasons as manager of the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs in the Houston Astros system.
Ilsley is returning for his fifth year as the pitching coach for the Cardinals Double-A affiliate and second with Springfield. Before joining the Cardinals, he served as the pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles organization in the Rookie Appalachian League. Ilsley’s coaching career started in 1999 with Winnipeg of the independent Northern League. Ilsley, 42, spent 14 seasons playing in the minor leagues with Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Montreal, and also appeared in ten Major League games with the Cubs.
New to the coaching staff this season is Joe Cunningham, who served as the manager for Quad Cities last year and will take over as hitting coach in Springfield. Cunningham has been a manager in 11 of his 17 seasons as an instructor in the Cardinals’ system. He led Quad Cities to a 72-67 record last year, including a trip to the playoffs in their first season as a Cardinal affiliate. In his 11 seasons as a manager, the St. Louis native has a 726-788 record. Cunningham, 43, was last a hitting coach in 1995 with Triple-A Louisville. Prior to that, he coached at Hamilton in 1989 and Johnson City in 1990-91. Cunningham played in the Cardinals system from 1984-1988 with Johnson City, Savannah, St. Petersburg, and Springfield, IL. This will be his 22nd year in the organization. Cunningham takes the position left by Dallas Williams, who will be the hitting coach for Triple-A Ottawa this season.
In addition to the coaching staff, Brad LaRosa will return for his second season as the athletic trainer for Springfield. Prior to his time with the Cardinals, he spent two years as an athletic trainer with the Florida Marlins, first with the Carolina Mudcats of the Southern League in 2003 and then with the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League in 2004.
Group Tickets and Dugout Deck reservations will go on sale Friday, January 13, at 9 a.m. To book a group of 20 or more to a Springfield Cardinals game, fans can call (417) 863-2143.