Cardinals Where Have You Gone? – Todd Worrell

Birdhouse readers selected the ex-players from Rob Rains' new book Cardinals Where Have You Gone? to be featured for a seven-week period.

Editor's note: As selected by you, the Birdhouse readers, this is the final installment of Rob Rains' new book, Cardinals Where Have You Gone? to be featured at The Birdhouse.

The previous schedule:
May 6 Ted Simmons
May 13 Vince Coleman
May 20 John Tudor
May 27 Ernie Broglio
June 3 Tom Pagnozzi
June 10 Garry Templeton

Purchase Cardinals Where Have You Gone? from your local independent bookstore, the major chains such as Borders and Barnes and Noble, or from the publisher, for just $19.95. With Father's Day this weekend, what better last-minute gift could one select for their special Cardinals fan Dad? – Brian Walton

The secret to happiness in Todd Worrell's post-baseball life is a piece of advice his father gave to him when he was growing up, many years ago.

"My dad was always a firm believer in not letting any one thing dominate your life," Worrell said. "You have to have balance."

For Worrell, that balance allows him to spend time with his wife, Jaime, and their four children, perform a variety of duties for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) on both a local and national level, and operate a hunting lodge in South Dakota.

The one piece of his life that Worrell had no idea he would be doing when he retired after the 1997 season was owning and operating a hunting lodge, located 20 miles west of Mitchell, South Dakota.

Growing up in southern California, Worrell was not much of a hunter as a youngster. He developed the bug after joining the Cardinals, where the opportunity to do a variety of hunting was much more readily available. When a friend invited him to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota, he immediately was hooked.

"I probably went up there just to hunt for close to 10 years, and got to know a lot of people," Worrell said. "Finally I told them that if they knew of anybody selling land I would be interested. I thought it would be neat to put a home there for my family to enjoy.

"I got the opportunity to buy 1,500 acres and it all just came together. It really became a hobby, and instead of just building a house we decided to open a hunting lodge. It became a small business. My dad and I spent two summers building the lodge and we opened it in 2001."

The business has been much more popular and successful than Worrell could have imagined. He organizes and runs eight weekend hunts a year during the pheasant season, which runs from October through December. He also organizes two hunts as fundraising events for the FCA.

Each hunt has a maximum of 13 people, and Worrell accompanies each group with three other guides. All of the hunters stay at the 7,000-square foot lodge.

"Ninety-five percent of our business is recurring business," Worrell said. "You know that if you give up a weekend you are not going to get it back. It really is a hands-on experience. A lot of people just put out the birds and turn the people lose. Not a lot of lodges do what I am doing.

"We provide the habitat and the food and we guarantee that we will not overhunt our fields. We have a meeting the night before and go over all of the safety issues. We are very strict about safety."

Worrell even established a Web site for his lodge and hunts at When he is running one of the hunts, Worrell flies back and forth twice a week between South Dakota and his home in St. Louis. That again provides him with that outside balance in his life.

In the spring, Worrell spends his time working as the pitching coach at Westminster High School, where his son Joshua is a senior and son Jeremy is a sophomore. His third son, Jacob, is in eighth grade and daughter Hanna is in the sixth grade.

"I've been doing that for four years now, and I really enjoy it," Worrell said. "I work with the younger kids as well as the older ones. Andy Benes has been helping me the last couple of years."

All of those kids are too young to remember much of Worrell's prime with the Cardinals, which came in the mid- to late 1980s. He was converted from a starter into a closer at Triple A and was called up in August of 1985 as the Cardinals were battling the Mets for the division title.

He took over the closer's role and helped the Cardinals into the World Series, where he was involved in perhaps the most infamous play in team history, the blown call by first base umpire Don Denkinger in the ninth inning of Game 6. Worrell received the throw from Jack Clark and stepped on first base ahead of Jorge Orta. But Denkinger ruled that Worrell missed the base—even though Orta actually stepped on Worrell's foot—and called Orta safe.

The Cardinals were ahead 1-0 at the time, three outs away from the world championship, but the Royals took advantage of the opening to rally and win the game 2-1, setting the stage for the debacle in Game 7.

Worrell remained the Cardinals' closer through 1989, leading the league with 36 saves in 1986 and earning the Rookie of the Year award. He missed the 1990 and 1991 seasons because of injuries, came back and pitched well in 1992 for St. Louis and then signed as a free agent with the Dodgers.

He spent the last five seasons of his career in Los Angeles, retiring after 1997 with a career total of 256 saves.

Even though Worrell didn't know specifically what he would be doing in retirement, just as important was his knowledge of what he wouldn't be doing.

"I had a lot of interests to pursue," he said. "I was surprised by how many guys came up to me and wanted to know what it was like to be out of the game. I hate using the word retired. They thought all I did was play golf every day.

"I think it would drive you nuts if all you had to do was play golf every day. I would get bored after two months. I was lucky I got some good advice early and was able to cultivate my interests. I have no trouble staying busy.

"I miss the competitive part of the game. There is nothing that can really replace that. But I have found other passions, other things I enjoy. Luckily baseball provided me with those opportunities."

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