Exclusive Interview - Willie McGee

Former Cardinal great Willie McGee speaks from Spring Training, where he is a special instructor for the team.

We pick up the audio interview as Willie McGee discusses why he stopped being a roving instructor in the San Francisco Giants system and came back to the Cardinals several years ago in the role of Special Spring Training Instructor. In that role, McGee does anything from providing hitting tips to pitching batting practice.

McGee then goes on to describe what he looks for in young players, how players can become successful if passionate, how it helped him to become a successful switch-hitter and how he felt upon leaving the Yankees in 1982.

The whole time, I couldn't help but think how ironic it was seeing McGee the very next day after ranking his joining the Cardinals as the third-best trade the team made in the last 40 years.

McGee joined the Redbirds during the 1982 World Championship season, starting what would be a 2200-game major league career, most of which was spent in St. Louis. McGee logged a career batting average of .295, four All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves and a National League Most Valuable Player award in the 1985 championship season.

Our conversation ended abruptly, as McGee's former teammate Brian Jordan walked up. The two exchanged hugs and caught up on their respective lives, as would any pair of old friends.

(3:33) (Sorry for the low sound level, but Willie is a bit soft-spoken.)

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

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