Interview - Batavia Manager Mark DeJohn

Interview - Batavia Manager Mark DeJohn

The manager of the St. Louis Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate discusses his three 2007 All-Stars and much more in this exclusive interview.

Batavia Muckdogs Manager Mark DeJohn has been around the baseball block once or twice. At this point in his 36-year career in the game, the mustachioed, shaved-headed skipper looks more like a Marine drill sergeant than a coach, effectively alternating between the roles of tough-guy and teacher whenever needed.

The 53-year-old is in his third consecutive season as a skipper in the New York-Penn League, after guiding the vagabond Cardinals affiliate through three homes in three years – first with the New Jersey Cardinals in 2005 and then the State College Spikes in 2006.

The man known to everyone as simply "DJ" spent the three previous seasons managing the Cardinals' Double-A franchise – two years with the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League and one year with the New Haven Ravens of the Eastern League. Prior to his Cardinals managerial stint, DeJohn served as a coach on Tony La Russa's staff in St. Louis from 1996-2001.

DeJohn's playing career began in 1971 as a 17-year-old when he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 23rd round of the June draft out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Middletown, CT. He played in the Mets system for seven seasons, including a stop in Batavia as a member of the New York-Penn League's Clippers.

The shortstop signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1978 and reached the Major Leagues with the club in 1982. DeJohn appeared in 24 games, serving mainly as a back-up for the renowned double-play combination of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell.

DeJohn made the transition to coaching for the 1983 season, serving as a minor league instructor for the Tigers. He briefly moved to the Kansas City Royals organization in 1985 as a coach for their Eugene affiliate, and later that season landed his first managerial job with the Tigers' affiliate in Birmingham.

He then re-joined the Cardinals' organization in 1986 as manager of the Savannah Cardinals. DeJohn spent two seasons in Savannah before moving on to the Springfield Cardinals of the Midwest League in 1988, and then to Johnson City of the Appalachian League for two seasons. He then managed the Tigers' Eastern League affiliate in London, Ontario in 1992 before returning to the Cardinals organization in 1993 as their minor league field coordinator.

In this exclusive interview, DeJohn discusses his three 2007 New York-Penn League All-Stars – starting pitcher Jess Todd, closer Josh Dew and first baseman Andrew Brown. We go on to talk about other deserving players on the Batavia roster as well as those who have progressed to the Swing of the Quad Cites of the Midwest League during this season with a significant amount of roster churn.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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