Maloney already knew Triple-A well. During a three-year break from his 15 years of managing and coaching in the Cardinals system, he spent those seasons as skipper of the New Orleans Zephyrs, a member of the Pacific Coast League like the Redbirds. With the Zephyrs from 2002 through 2004, then affiliated with the Astros organization, Maloney's results included a first-place finish in his initial season.
Returning to the Cardinals in 2005, Maloney spent the next two seasons managing the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. His success there culminated in him being named by the Cardinals as their 2006 recipient of the George Kissell Award for excellence in player development.
During his earlier 13-year stint in the organization, Maloney took Manager of the Year titles in three different leagues – the New York-Penn League in 1992, the South Atlantic (Sally) League in 1993 and the Texas League in 1998. Following that 1993 season, Maloney was recognized by Baseball Weekly as their Minor League Manager of the Year. Over his 12 years as a minor league manager in the Cardinals system, he has compiled a 761-696 (.522) record, including another tough 56-88 tally in Memphis this season.
45 years of age, Maloney hails from Jackson, Mississippi. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and was signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent. The contract of the outfielder-first baseman was purchased by the Cardinals in 1986 and he played one season with Springfield (IL).
Along with Memphis' hitting coach Rick Eckstein, Maloney was offered the opportunity to join the Major League club during the month of September, working alongside Tony La Russa and his staff. I caught up with the man they call "Hammer" in New York to discuss his recent past, present and future.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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