Mike Shannon, a St. Louis Cardinal for Life, Dies at 83


    Mike was an outstanding athlete at Christian Brothers College High School, where he was a football all-American, and in 1957 he was named the Missouri prep player of the year in both basketball and football. He attended the University of Missouri for a year as a quarterback on a football scholarship. But he was also a baseball prospect, and in 1958 he signed with the Cardinals for what he said in his autobiography was almost $100,000, although it was reported at the time as $40,000.

    After four years in the minor leagues, he played sparingly with the Cardinals in 1962 and 1963, often as the late-innings defensive replacement for the great hitter Stan Musial, who was then in the final year of his Hall of Fame career.

    Shannon did not follow Musial into the Hall of Fame (although he played with several future Hall of Famers, including Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda and Steve Carlton). But he was a solid player whose two-run home run off the Yankees’ Whitey Ford in Game 1 of the 1964 World Series tied the score at 4-4. The Cardinals won the game, 9-5, and went on to take the series in seven games.

    In 1967, Shannon moved from right field to third base after the Cardinals acquired Roger Maris from the Yankees. The two became close friends.

    St. Louis won the World Series again that year, beating the Boston Red Sox in seven games. The next year, the Detroit Tigers defeated the Cardinals, also in seven games. Shannon hit a home run in each of those series.

    Shannon played until 1970, when he developed membranous nephropathy, an autoimmune disorder of the kidneys, which ended his career. He had a career batting average of .255, with 68 home runs and 367 runs batted in, and was elected to the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame in 2014. Two of his teammates died recently: the shortstop Dick Groat last month and the catcher Tim McCarver, who also had a distinguished career as a broadcaster, in February.

    Shannon joined the Cardinals’ promotions department in 1971 and became a team announcer the next season. In addition to calling Cardinal games, he was part of NBC’s backup crew for its “Game of the Week” in the 1980s. He retired after the 2021 season.

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