Beloved Cardinals coach Willie McGee opting out of 2020 season, per reports


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Citing concerns about his health and the well-being of his family, St. Louis Cardinals 61-year-old coach Willie McGee has reportedly decided to not be with the team the rest of this season. 

The story was first reported by Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, then confirmed by Anne Rogers of 

I can confirm Hummel's report that #STLCards coach Willie McGee is electing not to coach the remainder of the season.Pres. of baseball ops John Mozeliak said last night that Jose Oquendo and Roberto Espinoza will join the Major League coaching staff.

— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) August 14, 2020

McGee, who suffers from high blood pressure, has not tested positive for COVID-19, according to Hummel's report. 

The former National League MVP is in his third season as a Cardinals coach. 

"I love baseball more than I love anything — almost. But, at this point, it’s God, family and baseball," McGee told the Post-Dispatch. "In the past, it was God, baseball and family. I could trick my heart and my mind to get past different obstacles when I was younger, no matter what was going on at home or on the field. I could still find a way to endure stuff. But, this thing (the coronavirus) and having an underlying health issue with high blood pressure, I just don’t know how I would react if I were to get sick and I’m still not out of the woods."

The Cardinals are bringing Jose Oquendo back to the Major League staff to coach third base this season. 

McGee won a World Series with the Cardinals in 1982 and he currently ranks among Cardinals all-time top-10 leaders in stolen bases (301-4th), triples (83-7th) and pinch-hits (59-3rd).

On Friday, the Cardinals announced some major changes to the 2020 schedule – with seven doubleheaders and just two off days the rest of the way. 

The team was traveling to Chicago, hoping to play on Saturday for the first time in 17 days. The team did not take the team charter and have instead rented "41 cars" for players and staff to drive. There's also a bus that some players and staff who "were not a part of the quarantine" will ride in. 

Tyler O’Neill sharing on his Instagram story all of the cars the #STLCards rented for the drive to Chicago.

— STLSportsCentral (@stlsportscntrl) August 14, 2020

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak updated media on Thursday afternoon, announcing that one additional staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. However, the positive test happened over the weekend, Mozeliak says. 

Mozeliak called this the start of a "second chance" for their season and expressed some confidence on getting back to playing games this weekend. 

"This is very real and we're excited about that," Mozeliak says. 

To replace the 10 players that have tested positive, Mozeliak announced the callup of the organization's No. prospect in outfielder Dylan Carlson, as well as some others who will be making their debuts on a Major League roster. He also announced the return of fan-favorite and former player Jose Oquendo as third base coach for the Cardinals. 

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