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Skip Schumaker named Marlins manager, sees coaching role as chance 'to impact others'

It seemed like only a matter of time before Skip Schumaker would become a major league manager. That became a reality on Tuesday when the Miami Marlins named him their next manager, replacing Don Mattingly.

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Schumaker served as the bench coach this past season for the St. Louis Cardinals, and before that served in several roles with the San Diego Padres — assistant to baseball operations and player development from 2016 to 2017, first-base coach in 2018 and 2019, and associate manager in 2020 and 2021.

“Delivering a winning, sustainable culture with the expectation of getting into the postseason is the next step for this organization and South Florida — and I can’t wait to get started,” Schumaker said in a statement released by the Marlins.

Schumaker, 42, served as Oliver Marmol‘s right-hand man during his first year managing and helped guide the Cardinals to a National League Central Division championship. Schumaker’s coaching stint in St. Louis reunited him with former teammates Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, and he immersed himself into the culture of faith that permeated the Cardinals clubhouse. He was part of the team Bible study and also took part in a panel discussion during the team’s Christian Day.

He also appeared last month on the Sports Spectrum Podcast, where he shared his faith journey and the role Wainwright played in his growth as a Christian.

The story goes back to 2000, when Schumaker was playing at the University of California-Santa Barbara and suffered a season-ending injury. For the first time in a long time, he wasn’t playing baseball every day. An assistant coach, John Kirkgard, invited him to a small Bible study. Schumaker didn’t grow up around church or faith in God, and with his focus on baseball, attending chapel was never something he had time for and wasn’t particularly interested in making time for.

“Now, I had time,” he said on the podcast. “That injury placed me into a 10-minute chapel before each game.”

He was diving into the Bible, something he’d not given much thought before.

“My wheels started spinning,” he said.

Schumaker was drafted by the Cardinals in 2001, and by that point he was back healthy and on the field. If faith was going to be a priority, he was going to have to make time for it. As he rose through the minor leagues, that’s exactly what he did, and attending chapel became a regular thing for him.

Wainwright was traded to the Cardinals in 2003 from the Atlanta Braves, but it was in 2005 that Schumaker’s and Wainwright’s relationship blossomed. Wainwright invited Schumaker along with their significant others to dinner, and to break the ice, Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, showed up in outfits most often seen at black-tie events or elegant balls. Schumaker and his girlfriend (now wife) Lindsey were dressed casually, with Skip in shorts and a T-shirt, leading to plenty of laughs.

It broke down the walls for Wainwright to reach Schumaker at an intimate level, eventually gifting him a Bible with a note inside: “Everything you need to know for the rest of your life will be in this book.”

“I still have it,” Schumaker said. “I haven’t bought another Bible.”

Though he’s never managed at any level, Schumaker will bring to Miami his coaching experience on top of 11 years of playing experience at the major-league level. He was a member of the World Series-winning Cardinals teams in 2006 and 2011, and was a two-time nominee for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, given to a player who exhibits inspirational leadership on the field and in the community.

“We are happy and proud of Skip getting this opportunity,” said John Mozeliak, Cardinals president of baseball operations. “Miami is getting a qualified manager who will bring his own personality to this job. He is organized, thoughtful, progressive and ready for this job.”

It’ll be the third different team for Schumaker in three years. One of the biggest challenges this past season, he said on the podcast, was being away from his family in California. He and his wife agreed to keep their children in their schools and not move to them to St. Louis.

One lesson he said God has taught him this past year is to “bloom where you’re planted.” His new roots will be elsewhere, but the approach will be the same.

“God has put me in different spots in my life,” he said on the podcast of being in St. Louis this past year. “He’s put me here for a reason. So instead of thinking, ‘Oh man, I really miss my family’ — which, I do. I miss them terribly. But I have a chance to impact others.”

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