When the Cardinals let Mike Matheny go in July of 2018, it was viewed as a temporary fix to a bigger problem. Much like the Blues did with Craig Berube, the Cardinals quickly found out Shildt was more than just a band-aid, he was exactly what the club needed to reach the success of past Cardinal squads.
While Shildt took over just a bit too late to help the Cardinals make the playoffs he made his impact known around Busch and was rewarded with a three year contract. Now, with a brand new contract and a full year to do with the club as he wished Shildt led the Cardinals to one of their best first months in their history. The Cardinals spent the middle of the season fighting between the Brewers and Cubs for a division race that seemed to be air tight. Following the All-Star break the Brewers and Cubs both had big injuries to their clubs and the Cardinals pounced to win their first division title since 2015. The Cardinals weren’t done yet as they squeaked past the Braves thanks to a ten run inning to start game 5. While the Cardinals were swept by the eventual World Series Champion, Washington Nationals, it was a year to remember for the Cardinals as they had returned to the playoffs and once again challenged for the World Series.
After this incredible turn around, Shildt was rewarded for his accomplishments, being awarded the NL manager of the year on Tuesday night. Finishing the year 91-71 which was a three win improvement from last year. Shildt becomes the first manager in MLB history to win the manager of the year accolade without having played one game of professional baseball. While the Cardinals still have lot to consider this winter Shildt will be entering his second full season with the expectations of making another deep playoff run and perhaps adding the clubs 12th World Title.