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A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of December 28, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

A former Cardinals player and manager passes away, a member of the starting rotation welcomes a new family member, and the Cardinals add pitching depth.

Rapp passes away

On December 31, 2015, former St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league player and major league manager Vern Rapp passed away at the age of 87.  Rapp was a native of St. Louis and began his professional baseball career in 1945 as a catcher in the Cardinals minor league system.  Rapp advanced to the Triple-A level in 1948, and then missed two seasons to serve in the Korean War.  The Cardinals released Rapp in 1955, still a minor leaguer.  Rapp continued his baseball career as a player/manager with several other major league organizations before rejoining the Cardinals in 1965 as a minor league manager. 

Rapp left the Cardinals again in 1969 to manage in the minor league systems of the Reds and the Montreal Expos until he was hired to manage the Cardinals’ major league club in 1977.  Rapp is perhaps best known for forcing Cardinals’ relief pitcher Al Hrabosky to shave off his signature Fu Manchu mustache.

Rapp’s Cardinals managing stint was short-lived, as he was fired by the Cardinals in April of 1978.  Rapp finished his baseball career as the first base coach for the Red Sox for five seasons, and then again as the manager of the Reds for less than six months in the 1984 season.

Wainwrights welcome fourth daughter

On Dec. 28, the Adam Wainwright family welcomed a baby girl, Sadee Faith Wainwright, into the world.  The proud father tweeted a picture of his newborn daughter, who already looked to be practicing her circle changeup grip.

Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, have three other daughters, nine year-old Baylee Grace, seven year-old Morgan Addison, and four year-old Macy James.

Cardinals add Hefner

The Cardinals signed right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hefner this past week to a minor league contract.  The 29-year-old was previously a member of the New York Mets starting rotation in 2012 and 2013 and then missed time due to two Tommy John surgeries in August 2013 and October 2014.

Hefner pitched in the Dominican Winter League in 2015 where he made three starts and five appearances in all.  He has a career MLB record of 8-15 with a 4.65 ERA.

Hefner was drafted in 2007 by the San Diego Padres.  He was claimed off waivers by the Pirates and then by the Mets in 2011.  Hefner became a free agent after the 2014 season, having been non-tendered and then re-signed by the Mets but did not pitch in the major leagues in 2015.  He is expected to pitch for Triple-A Memphis and has been given an invitation to the Cardinals 2016 Spring Training camp.

In an additional minor league transaction, the Cardinals released minor league reliever Ismael Brito.  Brito, a left-handed pitcher, was a 2010 signee from Venezuela, and spent his last season with the Appalachian League Johnson City Cardinals.

New videoboards and Wi-Fi coming to Busch Stadium

Two new HD LED scoreboards, fully programmable for video, are coming to Busch Stadium.  The old scoreboards in center field have been removed, and the new scoreboards will replace them.  They are the first new scoreboards installed since the stadium opened in 2006.  The ribbon boards down the lines and all equipment in the control room are also being replaced.

A Wi-Fi system capable of handling game day traffic will also be in place by the home opener on April 11.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

Cardinals sign free agent RHP Jeremy Hefner to a minor league contract.

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

January and February is arbitration season, and contracts for arbitration eligible players will start to be settled.  Look for news about these contracts in the next few weeks.

For Cardinals fans, the annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled to begin on January 16 and run through January 18.  Along with the Winter Warm-Up, Cardinal Caravans will be traveling throughout Cardinal Nation during this time.  The schedule for the Caravans can be found online here. Winter Warm-Up information is also available online.

The Hot Stove season continues, with the possibility of further additions to the Cardinals’ 2016 roster.  Though GM John Mozeliak has tempered expectations for adding an impact bat to the lineup, opportunities could present themselves at any time.

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