St. Louis Cardinals Manager to Raise Funds for Special Needs Athletics in January

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St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny to deliver message about developing true character through the love of sports.

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny

"After I read his book, it was clear to me that his vision of sports is at the heart of what it should be about: working hard, loving the game and, most importantly, developing true character," said Michael Richerson, Founder Special Needs Athletics.

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny, known for being a tireless community worker, will help raise funds for Special Needs Athletics Friday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tennessee. Michael Richerson began Special Needs Athletics in 2009; it is a fund of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation.

“We are excited to welcome Mike Matheny to Jackson,” Richerson said. “After I read his book, it was clear to me that his vision of sports is at the heart of what it should be about: working hard, loving the game and, most importantly, developing true character.”

Throughout the 2015 season, more than 350 athletes with special needs will participate in various sports in Jackson and Selmer, with all sports being free of charge. They can participate in baseball in the fall and spring, bowling, mini-golf and basketball. “No one sits on the bench in this league,” Richerson said. “Everyone plays with as much or as little help as is necessary.” Coaches and volunteer teammates provide on-field assistance.

“It is an honor for us to have someone of Mike Matheny’s caliber speak at this event supporting Special Needs Athletics,” Richerson said. “The evening is guaranteed to renew the love of sports in all. We look forward to having a large crowd join us.”

The 49th manager in the history of Cardinals baseball has led the team to the playoffs every season since he took the helm in 2011. The team was a wild card selection in 2012, Central Division Champion in 2013 and National League Champion in 2014. They are on tap to return to the playoffs again this year.

Matheny spent 13 seasons playing in the majors, five of them (2000-04) with the Cardinals. The recipient of four Rawlings Gold Gloves, he holds the major league record for consecutive errorless games with 252.

After creating and funding “Catch 22,” a charity that donated tickets to Cardinals fans, Matheny’s foundation funded Catch 22 Miracle Field at Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. The $650,000 facility was constructed to allow children of all abilities to experience the thrill of playing baseball. It is specially designed to accommodate athletes with physical and mental disabilities.

In February 2015, Matheny published “The Matheny Manifesto,” which shares his views on coaching youth baseball. His philosophy includes respect, ownership,
self-motivation and no-nonsense sportsmanship.

This event, which Richerson hopes will become annual, will help fund yearly Special Needs Athletics’ activities in Jackson and Selmer. General admission tickets are $15 on the floor and $10 in the balcony. Sponsorships begin at the Walk level for contributions of $50-$99 and continue to the Grand Slam level for $15,000. Additional information about sponsorships is available by calling Richerson at 731-394-6675. Tickets may be purchased online at

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