ST. LOUIS -- The nickname "Super Joe" attached to energetic White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing was bestowed upon him by Eric Davis when the two played together for the Cardinals in 1999.
But the Cardinals' 28th-round pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft has greater memories of his two years in St. Louis than his moniker.
"It's always nice coming back, coming up with the organization and giving me the opportunity in the big leagues for the first time," McEwing said. "I spent one year and a month here before being traded, but a lot of good memories of the stadium and a great baseball town and a great baseball city and it started my career. I'm very thankful."
McEwing formed a strong bond with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, and McEwing admitted it would be weird not to see La Russa in the dugout across the way because he was a staple there for such a long time.
"Really, it's weird to not see him in any dugout but especially here," McEwing said. "It's different but, it's rich in tradition and [manager Mike Matheny] does a great job and will continue to do a great job."
Matheny eventually was chosen to replace La Russa, but McEwing was held in high enough esteem that the three-year manager in the White Sox Minor League system also received an interview for the vacant Cardinals job. It's a position McEwing would like to hold one day, but right now, he's enjoying his work as part of Robin Ventura's first staff.
"I'm thankful that [team chairman Jerry] Reinsdorf, Robin has given me the opportunity, [GM] Kenny [Williams], to be on the staff and I'm enjoying every single day and learning every single day," McEwing said. "I learn a lot from Robin and I'm in no hurry and thankful for the opportunity.
"They came to me and I was very humbled and honored to be thought of in that light as one of the possible candidates to manage a Major League club. At the end of the day, it was a great opportunity and a great experience."