By Dr. Michael D. Miles/FanSided via Redbird Rants
The St. Louis Cardinals AAA-Affiliate, Memphis Redbirds, have announced their new manager and fans will love the selection.
The Memphis Redbirds, the St. Louis Cardinals triple-A team, lost their manager, Mike Shildt earlier in November when he was promoted to a newly-created position of Quality Control Coach in the MLB staff. On November 30, the Redbirds announced that fan-favorite Stubby Clapp will manage the 2017 Memphis Redbirds.
Clapp was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the thirty-sixth round of the 1996 draft out of Texas Tech University. He play in the Cardinals organization in ’96 in rookie ball at Johnson City and then promoted in ’97 to advanced-A level for the Prince William Cannons. In 1998, Clapp appeared with the then AA team the Arkansas Travelers (the team is no longer affiliated with the Cardinals organization).
Fans in Memphis will remember Clapp appearing for our Memphis Redbirds from 1999 to 2001. In Memphis Clapp appeared at second base, third base, center field, and left field (as well as appearing in multiple outfield spots in a single game). In the minors, Clapp compiled a career slash line of .268/.373/.405.
Clapp made his MLB debut on June 18, 2001. In St. Louis, Stubby appeared at second base, and left field (with some games appearing at multiple outfield spots). He compiled a slash line of .200/.231/.280 in twenty-three games that season. Clapp was not a big success at the majors where he left with a WAR ranking of -0.1.
In 2002, he was sent back to the Memphis Redbirds and then was traded to the Atlanta Braves organization in 2003. Clapp played his last game as a fielder in 2006 for the Edmonton team in the independent leagues where he slashed .323/.447/.429.
Clapp, originally from the Great White North of Canada, appeared in the Pan American Games of 1999 with Team Canada where he earned bronze medal. Additionally, Stubby played in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams for Canada. Finally, Clapp was a member of the 2009 World Baseball Classic Team Canada which was the last time he suited-up as a ball player.
In 2007, Stubby took his first coaching job as hitting coach for Greeneville Astros, the rookie league team of the Houston organization. He was promoted in 2008 to become the hitting coach for the Houston single-A team in Lexington. He bounced back and forth between these two teams in 2009 and 2010 until he was awarded his first managerial gig for the Houston short-season single-A team the Tri-City ValleyCats from 2011-2012.
In 2013, Clapp moved to the Toronto organization where he served as the hitting coach for their advanced-A team through the 2014 season. Toronto promoted Clapp to hitting coach for their double-A team in 2015 where he spent the last two seasons.
Yesterday’s announcement brings Clapp back to the St. Louis Cardinals organization and back to Memphis where he is well-known and highly respected. I personally love this move as I was very disappointed to lose Shildt who was just wonderful for Memphis and the players coming here. This announcement, in my opinion, continues that wonderful tradition just with a different name.
This member of the PCL-Championship Memphis Redbirds team of 2000 is best known for his back flips that he would do at the start of each game. The Memphis GM, Craig Unger, joked yesterday on Twitter that Clapp told him he was working on the signature flip to be ready to employ it at the March 30 “Battle of the Birds” competition when the Cardinals will visit Memphis.
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I love this move and I know that many fans will too. I think this is a wise move by the organization and- even more so- was wise that they kept the other coaches intact. Time will tell if this move maintains my theory espoused last season that the Memphis coaches far out-shined the MLB coaches. I guess we will wait and see.