In 1997 the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Mark McGwire in a franchise-changing move that had the side effect of pushing two-year-starter John Mabry into the outfield and eventually off the team. 16 years later McGwire finally paid Mabry back, quitting as the Cardinals' hitting coach to work closer to his family in Los Angeles. Mabry, who returned to the Cardinals in 2011 as the assistant hitting coach, was promoted Monday to fill the vacancy.
Mabry spent four years with the Cardinals as a utility bat in the mid-90s and started at first base in 1996, during Tony La Russa's first year on the job. At his best—in 1996, during an inexplicable run with the Oakland Athletics in 2002, and in an unlikely return to St. Louis in 2004—he was a high-average hitter with line-drive power who could play at each of the four offensive-minded corners. He ended his career after a brief stint with the Colorado Rockies in 2007 with 898 hits and a career line of .263/.322/.405.
No word yet as to who will replace Mabry as the assistant hitting coach, but in spite of the recent Jim Edmonds rumors it seems reasonable to expect he'll be right-handed.