While much of the attention this offseason has been on who’s arrived in Chicago, there’s been one name that has left the Windy City and returned to his roots in the Gateway City.
Hired as the St. Louis Cardinals assistant hitting coach, Bill Mueller is back in the town where he graduated from DeSmet in 1989.
“This is a great landing spot,” said Mueller at the Winter Warm-Up. “I’m really excited.”
Mueller served as the hitting coach in Chicago last season, but resigned after the Cubs re-assigned his assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley in the organization.
“I just held to my word of how important that relationship was to me and how important it was taking the job in the first part, having numerous conversations prior to that years prior before I took the job,” explained Mueller. “It was just wanting to stand up to the truth of what I was saying.”
Besides the excitement of returning to his hometown, Mueller is also excited about working alongside John Mabry.
“I think we’re really very similar,” he said. “Just speaking with John, I think we’ll be able to intermingle ideas and be creative and continue to grow–help each other. I hope to help him as much as he’s helping me as well.”
“He won a batting title–Billy knows what he’s doing,” said Mabry of his new assistant coach. “He’s a people person. He’s very positive, very energetic. Loves to talk hitting, loves to compete, loves to serve the players. He’s going to bring a lot.”
Both Mabry and Mueller described at least part of the interview process as a general conversation, which then led to more philosophical and in-depth discussion on the game.
“Then you just start talking about your thoughts and ideas about maybe your feet, or your knees, or hips, or shoulders, hands, angles, positioning–whatever,” said Mueller. “Then you just start talking about situations in the game and other things like how to develop a younger kid or how to handle a pressure situation, so it’s a full gamut of things that you start talking about weaving through a large path with things to talk about in the game. Then you have pretty much a general idea of what direction each guy’s coming from.
“In speaking to the other organizations that I have and they asking me questions, that’s kind of how it all starts. General conversations and then they have some bullet points that they’ll pick out, each organization has some different things, different thoughts that they’re trying to stress or get out of you and to see where you’re at with it. It’s nothing too tough, I think that’s how you get the best out of that conversation–just make it as easy going as you can.”
Besides the job last season in Chicago, Mueller has worked in the same role with the Los Angeles Dodgers–where he also spent time as a Special Assistant to the General Manager and then as a scout.
“Being a little bit too far away from the field was what impacted me to get back to the field. That’s where my heart races the most and that’s where I love the game the most. That’s where I want to be a part of being a part of these guys and helping their heartbeats and getting them better and being a part of an organization. That’s why I came back.”
photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports