Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

GM Accepts Challenge of History

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

GM Accepts Challenge of History

Article excerpt

Walt Jocketty is completing his third year as Cardinals general manager and on Tuesday agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the GM hot seat for another three seasons. But to Jocketty, it's not just a job.

It's a trust.

"This is the greatest job in baseball, with the greatest franchise," Jocketty said. "Look at the guys who have held this job in the past: Dal Maxvill, Whitey Herzog, Bing Devine, Stan Musial, Branch Rickey. They set a high standard. "But I like that challenge." Jocketty, 46, is finishing his 23rd season as a baseball executive. He had just completed his 10th year with the Oakland Athletics, where he served as director of baseball administration, when Cardinals president Mark Lamping hired Jocketty as successor to Maxvill on October 14, 1994. In his brief time at the post, Jocketty has fired a manager (Joe Torre), hired a manager (Tony La Russa) and almost completely turned over the roster. Only four current Cardinals - Brian Jordan, Ray Lankford, Tom Pagnozzi and Donovan Osborne - were on the big-league club before Jocketty took over. Those changes helped the Cards return to postseason play last year for the first time since 1987. Lamping thought Jocketty should have been named the National League's executive of the year in 1996. Now, Jocketty has ample opportunity to win the award as a Cardinals GM in a future year. "We are very pleased that Walt will continue the work he started three years ago," Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. Jocketty said: "I want to stay here and see it through." His next step probably will be making sure La Russa is back to manage the club next season. Jocketty said he plans to broach the subject with La Russa within the next few days, and he expects La Russa to exercise his contract option to return as Cardinals skipper for the next two years. After that, Jocketty will assemble a final list of players the Cards will protect for the November expansion draft and then set about putting together the 1998 edition of the club. Though it might have seemed the Cards ownership delayed in making the decision to extend Jocketty's contract, Lamping never doubted that Jocketty would return. …

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