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Chad Kreuter named manager of triple-A Syracuse Mets

by Bryan Zarpentine

Cardinals Legacy Foundation for Baseball Executive Board Member Chad Kreuter is once again working his way toward the majors, this time as a manager. Kreuter, who played 16 seasons in the big leagues as a catcher, was promoted by the New York Mets earlier this month to the manager of the team’s triple-A affiliate.

Right before Spring Training, the Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran which started a managerial shuffle and led to Kreuter getting bumped up to the Mets triple-A club.

“I’m proud of Chad getting this opportunity, he is an excellent baseball man,” said Gregg Olson, who is also an Executive Board Member for the Cardinals Legacy Foundation. “Chad is a very intelligent baseball coach.”

Kreuter brings to both the Cardinals Legacy Foundation and the Mets 16 years of playing experience in the majors. During that time, he played in over 900 games for seven different organizations, becoming one of the most reliable and respected catchers in the game. He was a steady defensive backstop and developed a good rapport with pitchers throughout his career. Kreuter’s best offensive season came in 1993 while playing for the Detroit Tigers. That year, he set several career-highs, including a .286 batting average, 15 home runs, and 51 RBIs.

Pressing Kreuter to reminisce over his career he said, “I had many great moments with my teammates, receiving Nolan Ryan’s 5,000 strikeout, hitting the game winner for Sparky Anderson's 2,000 win off Dennis Eckersley, and having lunch with Mickey Mantle. But my best memory was hitting a homerun at Dodger Stadium and being greeted at the plate by my 10-year old batboy son, Cade. That was very cool.”

Chad Kreuter behind the plate for Nolan Ryan's 5000th K

As a player, Kreuter showed exemplary toughness. His career was in doubt in 1996 following a collision at home plate with Johnny Damon in which Kreuter broke his shoulder and suffered internal bleeding. Despite doctors giving him long odds to continue his playing career, he rehabbed tirelessly, changed his approach to the game, and was back in the majors the following season.

When asked what drove him in rehab, once again it went back to his family, “My driving force was that I wanted to be able to hold and play with my children without being handicapped by a withered, non-functioning left arm.”

During his playing career, Kreuter also sought to be a sponge, learning everything he possibly could about the game. It was that drive to master the mental aspect of baseball that helped him have such a long career in the big leagues. It also made the transition to coaching a natural one for Kreuter after his playing career was over.

When asked about his connection with Cardinals Legacy, Kreuter said it was the same thing that drove him to be a coach, “Since arriving to the Majors in 1988, I have felt it is my obligation to share the knowledge and blessings I’ve received, so that youngsters, especially those who are less fortunate, can have the opportunity to live out their baseball dreams.”

Kreuter played his last big league game in 2003, and in 2006, he was named the head coach of the USC Trojans. He had the unique honor of taking over for his father-in-law, Mike Gillespie, who is a living legend in the college baseball world. During his four seasons at USC, Kreuter helped in the development of future major leaguers: Lucas Duda, Tommy Milone, Brad Boxberger, and Andrew Triggs.

After leaving USC, Kreuter continued coaching in the professional ranks, serving as a manager in the Colorado Rockies farm system before joining the Mets in 2017. During his three seasons as manager of the St. Lucie Mets, Kreuter worked with current big league stars like Tim Tebow, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil. Kreuter said, "One of the cool things about this opportunity is getting the chance to manage players in Syracuse that I also managed in St. Lucie over the last three years.”

His promotion to triple-A Syracuse will allow Kreuter to continue to assist young players in their development on their way to the majors while also bringing him one step closer to returning to the big leagues as either a coach or manager.

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