Matheny’s old school passes new

Posted March 18, 2015

“The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life”
Mike Matheny and Jerry B. Jenkins


They say catchers make good managers; maybe I can coin the saying managers make good writers. Mike Matheny gets it right, pretty much from the start, but he did not intend to write a book when he started these ideas.

Some say it is hard to truly define success, but I think Matheny agree that he has succeeded at everything he has done. At just 44 years of age, Matheny is a former four-time Gold Glove Award winning catcher and currently the manager of the St Louis Cardinals.

Matheny had no prior professional coaching experience but, at the age of 41 the Cardinals picked him to be the successor for Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. Since taking over, Matheny led the Cardinals to three straight post-season berths, including taking the 2013 team to the World Series.

Matheny’s only coaching experience came at the Little League level, where he wrote an open letter to the parents that eventually became a “manifesto” and went viral on the Internet. The letter was sensational and eye opening and these events inspired the book that holds no punches and speaks to the real issues in the sport today.

In a society where fewer and fewer athletes are true “role model” material, Matheny proves that, as the manager of a Major League Baseball team, he expects a higher standard and will not settle for anything less.

Matheny, a man of faith, says he has never shied away from religion, but at the same time never tried to “force it down anyone’s throat.” Matheny discusses his eight keys to success, the basis for the book and his teachings: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness and humility.

“The boys will be required to show up ready to play every time they come to the field. Shirts tucked in, hats on straight, and pants not drooping down to their knees. There is not an excuse for lack of hustle on a baseball field. From the first step outside the dugout they will hustle. They will have a fast jog to their position, to the plate, and back to the bench when they make an out. We will run out every hit harder than any team we will play, and will learn how to always back up a play to help our teammates. Every single play, every player will be required to move to a spot. Players that do not hustle and run out balls will not play,” he wrote.

The book is co-written by Jerry B. Jenkins, author of 20 New York Times bestsellers and who has collaborated on multiple athletes’ autobiographies including Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and others. Jenkins’ presence is felt immediately in the clear and concise manor in which the book is written, and could easily be read cover to cover in a few hours.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is a sports fan, aspiring athletes or aspiring coaches. This book is not just limited to sports. Matheny proves that he is teaching life lessons anyone could learn from. Matheny proves that he is not just coaching a sport, but coaching young men in how they should carry themselves to be men.

“I truly believe that the family is the most important institution in the lives of these guys. With that being said, l think that the family events are much more important than the sports events,” he wrote.

Just as Matheny expected this from Little League boys, he holds his professional players to the same standard, no matter who they are or how much money they make.

Matheny admitted this might be a lot for some parents to handle, just like it might not be made for some players, but that would not stop him and he would not change his approach. Matheny feared that could make him tough to handle, instead parents responded and the letter went viral turning him into an MLB manager and culminating in a book.

Reading this book will give you a peak inside the mind of a professional athlete and major league manager and give you a greater appreciation for what it takes.

  •  Title: “The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life”
  • Author: Mike Matheny, Jerry B. Jenkins
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype
  • Hardcover: 224 pp.
  • Price: $18.17
  • Kindle Version: $10.99
  • Release date: Feb. 3, 2015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553446692
  • Rating: 4 out of 5