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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals top minor league manager – Chris Maloney

Not only does Chris Maloney manage at the highest level of the St. Louis Cardinals system, at Triple-A Memphis, he is also the winningest one in terms of regular season action since at least 1966. Maloney has also managed across the most diverse of prospect environments, down to rookie ball.

Top regular-season winning percentage (.519) and most different levels managed (six) – Chris Maloney

Like so many of the best coaches it seems, the man known as “Hammer” began as a middling player, putting in four seasons in the Mets and Cardinals organizations as an outfielder-first baseman, reaching no higher than A ball. Ironically, Maloney ended his playing career as a member of the 1986 Springfield (IL) Cardinals, managed by Gaylen Pitts.

Prior to receiving his first managerial job at Johnson City in 1991, Maloney coached at Springfield in 1988, Arkansas in 1989 and Johnson City in 1990. In his second year managing, the .737 mark posted by Hamilton set a record that still stands today as the best season by a farm club in the history of the Cardinals organization.

By his third season, Maloney’s Savannah Cardinals played .662 ball on their way to the Sally League crown. He was named Manager of the Year by USA Today Baseball Weekly. After six years of managing, he was a coach for Triple-A Louisville in 1997.

In 1998, he returned as skipper of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers and was named Manager of the Year for the system for the third time at the third different level. He remained with Arkansas for three seasons before being assigned back to Johnson City for 2001. From 2002 through 2004, Maloney jumped to the Houston Astros system where he led the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs.

Returning to the Cardinals organization in 2005, Maloney was selected to lead the new Springfield Cardinals in their inaugural season in the Double-A Texas League. He was the recipient of the 2006 George Kissell Award for excellence in player development. Maloney remained with Springfield for two seasons before assuming his current assignment as manager of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

2009 marks Maloney’s 18th season with the Cardinals in coaching and 15th as a manager. He has managed at every level in the system with the exception of the complex rookie leagues and has posted the highest career winning percentage (.519) of any manager with six or more seasons of service since at least 1966.

It is reasonable to assume given Maloney is just 47 years of age that he can pass Pitts with just two more seasons to become the longest-tenured manager in the system over at least the last 45 years.

Chris Maloney Cardinals career managerial record

Level Club Year Win pct. Wins Losses Div place Playoffs
AAA Memphis 2008 0.528 75 67 2
AAA Memphis 2007 0.389 56 88 4
AA Springfield (MO) 2006 0.478 66 72 3
AA Springfield (MO) 2005 0.500 70 70 3
SS-R Johnson City 2001 0.470 31 35 5
AA Arkansas 2000 0.489 68 71 2
AA Arkansas 1999 0.421 59 81 4
AA Arkansas 1998 0.571 80 60 1 L1
A-Adv St. Petersburg 1996 0.543 75 63 4
A-Adv St. Petersburg 1995 0.489 64 67 5
AA Arkansas 1994 0.504 68 67 3
A Savannah 1993 0.662 94 48 1 WC
SS-A Hamilton 1992 0.737 56 20 1 L1
SS-R Johnson City 1991 0.606 40 26 2
0.519 902 835 1-2

(Note: This series does not take the 2009 season into account. Maloney’s Memphis Redbirds won the Pacific Coast League championship, the club’s first since 2000. With the club’s 77-67 record, Maloney’s Cardinals career winning percentage improved to .520.)

Related articles:

“Top Cardinals minor league managers – 1966 to present”

“Cardinals minor league franchise census since 1974”

“Cardinals in the Gulf Coast, Arizona and Pioneer Rookie Leagues”

“Cardinals in Triple-A – 1977 to present”

“Cardinals in Double-A – 1966 to present”

“Cardinals in the Florida State League – 1966 to present”

“Quad Cities: Cardinals top minor league club has a long history”

Cardinals in the Appalachian League – 1975 to present

Cardinals in the New York-Penn League – 1981 to present

A quarter century of Cardinals minor league results

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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