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The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager's Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life Hardcover – February 3, 2015
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“The Matheny Manifesto illustrates a perspective we need not only in youth sports, but in our culture as a whole. By teaching the importance of respect, character, and a team-first approach, Mike Matheny gives our kids, and those who set an example for them, a positive outlook on healthy competition—and demonstrates how the most powerful lessons of baseball apply to their futures beyond the diamond.”
“Readers agree there are ‘must read ‘ books. The Matheny Manifesto, inspired by Mike's letter is one and much more. After you read it, you ‘must consider’ and then ‘must act’ on its core principles—principles that benefit coaches, parents, success seekers, and especially young players.”
—Tony La Russa
“You win, or in this case, lose, with class. With integrity. You play hard. You play smart. You respect yourself, your teammates, your opponents, and your craft. It’s a game and it should be fun. It’s a business, and those realities are there, too. But it can be more than just that. It can, at least for some, be an expression of principles…. In many ways, Matheny’s still new, but already extremely successful, tenure with the Cardinals is an ongoing example of those principles writ large.”
—From the afterword by Bob Costas
“I once told Mike Matheny that if I ever became a big league manager, I’d want to manage just like he does. The Matheny Manifesto will show you why. Mike approaches the game as the ultimate competitor, but totally with class and dignity.”
—Orel Hershiser, Los Angleles Dodgers broadcaster, 18-year big league pitcher, Cy Young Award winner, World Series champion
“The Matheny Manifesto is mandatory reading for coaches, parents, and athletes of every age. The book is packed with winning insights and practical advice for all to use. A powerful read!”
—Pat Williams, Orlando Magic co-founder and senior vice president
“Mike Matheny has some tremendous lessons for coaches but mostly for parents…. You’ve got to know someone who could use this book. You’ve got to know 10 people who could use this book. They’ll thank you for getting it.”
"Lots of coaches write inspirational books, but this one has a lot of interesting stuff in it...It's an important book."
"A must read for parents, coaches, teachers all who work with young people"
[The Matheny Manifesto] should be read by every parent of every youth league player in this country.
“Beautifully readable and morally meaty.”
“[T]his book should be read by anybody who coaches a kids team, as well as the parents of those kids.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Every parent who has a son or daughter that plays sports, dances, plays in the band, is in theater, or does anything as team or group, must read The Matheny Manifesto."
—Quad-Cities Online, The Dispatch
About the Author
Mike Matheny played thirteen years as a catcher for four Major League teams, won four Gold Gloves, and holds the MLB record for most consecutive games without an error; 2017 will mark his sixth year as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Matheny led the Cardinals to the postseason in each of his first four campaigns, winning the National League pennant in 2013. He and his wife, Kristin, are the parents of five and live in St. Louis. For more information about Mike’s Catch 22 Foundation, and to keep up with his blog, visit www.MikeMatheny.com.
Jerry B. Jenkins is the author of twenty New York Times bestsellers, including the Left Behind series. His writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. He has collaborated on as-told-to autobiographies by Hank Aaron, Orel Hershiser, Walter Payton, Nolan Ryan, Mike Singletary, and Billy Graham. For more information about Jerry, visit www.JerryJenkins.com.
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Mr. Matheny’s own parents and coaches believed that character is more important than winning. And he, in turn, wants to pass that on to those he coaches, whether they are on his youth baseball team or in the major leagues:
“Our role as coaches is not just to build up the scoreboard but also to build up our players so that they become character-filled leaders who will have an impact on those around them.”
Matheny writes a lot about his own baseball career. His book goes back and forth between sports biography and coaching philosophy. To me, his most interesting stories are from his days at home, when he and his brothers played outside until after dark. (His dad put lights up in the yard so they could keep on even after the sun when down.) Least interesting are the stories from the major leagues. But all of the stories get back to the same theme: instilling values through sports.
What I most appreciate is the straightforward advice to parents, advice which Matheny reinforces with stories of the kind of dad his own father was:
“My dad would put in long hours operating heavy machinery….He’d come home covered with dirt, and you could tell all he wanted to do was get cleaned up and relax. But he would always grab a glove and go play catch with me and my brother or throw batting practice for us. He never turned us down.”
Matheny’s number one piece of advice to parents who want their kids to excel is to just go out and throw the ball with them:
“To develop skills, the younger player needs repetition. For life in general, he needs time with his parents. It’s a win-win.”
It’s not just a win-win for the player. The parent, while spending time with their kids and teaching, has a great excuse to play and have fun, something which most of us need more of.
Matheny writes a lot about his Christian faith and how it has influenced him in life and coaching. There’s more gospel in this book than many books that are marketed as Christian books.
I’m glad I read The Matheny Manifesto just before our own youth softball and baseball leagues get started for the year. I plan to take Matheny’s advice and make it the most productive season my kids have had yet.
All joking aside, I have a lot of respect for the Cardinals. I have a lot of respect for Tony LaRussa and I have read two books about his baseball managing career. Matheny had some big shoes to fill in 2012, when LaRussa led the Cardinals back from their final strike (twice) to win the World Series, but he has succeeded taking the Cardinals to the playoffs each season as manager.
When Matheny was chosen as manager of the reigning World Series team, many were puzzled. Matheny had no managerial experience. He was only six years removed from his playing career, which was shut down abruptly by health issues relating to recurring concussion symptoms.
But Matheny is strong leader with strong values. Ultimately, The Matheny Manifesto is an account of Matheny’s values that he integrates into his life. The manifesto originated when he was asked to manage youth baseball. Not wanting to be like every other little league coach, Matheny wrote out demands for himself, his staff, his players, and most importantly, the parents. He wanted to create a team of character. He wanted to create a team known for integrity and hard work. He did not care about winning. Winning happens when you do everything right.
This is a great book. It should be required reading for anyone thinking about coach youth sports.
It’s incredible these days how intense parents have become in youth league sports, yelling at umpires and coaches as well as their children when they either make mistakes or over achieve. Some kids become embarrassed and no longer want to play, treating a game that they enjoyed more like a chore to satisfy their parents who are vicariously living through them. Obviously it’s not all parents but there are enough of them that have created a toxic atmosphere in the realm of youth sports and I am glad Matheny chose to address this issue in a professional but firm manner.
Matheny also shares his personal story about the journey to becoming a professional baseball player and it was very inspirational. It takes an incredible amount of work, dedication, talent, and skill to get to the big league level. I think in our society today, we are inundated with media stories about how much athletes get paid and this has a very intense impact on parents who want their kids to play sports and pursue a professional career not realizing just how difficult that and stressful that is.
Matheny also focuses a lot on servant leadership and being a good mentor to his players both younger and older. At the end of the day, he coached youth league sports to teach young players about life skills such as team work, showing up, and staying positive no matter what circumstances occur. Carrying yourself in a cool, calm, and collected manner is paramount to success. There is a lot that a reader can take away from this book. It has had a very profound impact on my life, causing me to rethink some of my choices. My respect for Mike Matheny and the St. Louis Cardinals has skyrocketed. I wish the best for him, his family, and the Cardinals and am very grateful for his book. Thank you, Mike.