Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt Says Team Knew of Sign Stealing, Defends Tony LaRussa

By , NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt – in an exclusive conversation with KMOX – explained how the organization had conversations about other Major League Baseball teams cheating, but chose "integrity at the foremost of what we are doing."

The 2019 NL Manager of the Year was in the KMOX studio to talk not only about the Houston Astros sign-stealing controversy, but also the allegations against former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. La Russa was accused by former MLB pitcher Jack McDowell of video to steal signs in the 1980s while manager of the Chicago White Sox. 

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Related: Former Cy Young Winner Alleges '80s White Sox, Tony La Russa Cheated with Camera

KMOX reached has reached out to La Russa for comment on McDowell's claim.

Here is the transcription of the skipper's full answers:

Shildt on cheating in MLB:
We had a real serious look at it. We have high expectations and we're talking about pure competition and when you see any advantage that people are getting we internally have to have the hard conversation to say what do we want to do about it because we get a fair fight on the field, but we weren't getting a fair fight during the game off the field, and we knew this to be true over the last several years.

It was a real sense of frustration for our clubhouse and for our staff. So there were some conversations, and I applaud our clubhouse and our staff to say, 'We do want to win but we don't want to win at absolutely any and all costs.' It's not winning if you're cheating. We made a conscious decision to have a collaborative conversation and ultimately go down the road to play the game and have integrity at the foremost of what we are doing.

I've also reached out to some other people in the game that I respect a lot that have managed for a long time in the game and what they would do with their teams. All of them unequivocally said, 'There is no place for it, you don't want to create that atmosphere,' and discouraged me from doing it, which just reiterated my own thoughts about it as well.

So I sleep well at night and when things broke and things started to come out and more things continue to come out, I don't have to worry about anything coming out about us because I know how we competed and we competed hard, but we competed fair.

Shildt on La Russa's integrity:
Tony is a high, high integrity guy. It’s really shocking to me. And I know Jack a little bit but not well and I can’t speak for him, but I can only speak for my really candid conversations, multiple times with Tony and then seeing him back it up. 

Tony has a real, real, real strong opinion about the integrity of our game. He loves this game and he was the most vehement to me in talking about sign stealing and using technology and all that. I mean vehement to me about not doing that and about protecting the integrity of the game and playing the game hard and fair. 

So again, I can’t speak to Mr. McDowell, but I can speak to Tony’s character and I can confidently tell you that Tony La Russa has never done anything within the spectrum of other than trying to just compete and play the game the right way.”

KMOX executive sports producer Ben Boyd contributed to this article
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