Chandler Redmond, wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform, high-fives teammates in the dugout
After two full seasons and part of a third playing in Springfield, Chandler Redmond is one of several key contributors who could be playing their final home games at Hammons Field this weekend. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

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That blustery April opening night at Hammons Field, when the Springfield Cardinals dropped a 4-1 decision to the Wichita Wind Surge, seems like it happened five days ago, not five months ago.

But here we are, another home season about to wrap as the Cardinals close out a series against the Tulsa Drillers this weekend. It’s been highly entertaining to watch some players flourish and advance as others develop with the added bonus of a late-season playoff run.

There are a few Cardinals that, barring home games in the Texas League playoffs, will likely be saying goodbye to Springfield at the end of this weekend. Topping the list is slugging first baseman Chandler Redmond.

Texas League’s home run leader is blocked at first base

The Texas League home run leader with 29 entering Friday night’s game against Tulsa, Redmond came into 2023 a lean, mean hitting machine after a strict offseason workout and dietary program. What a difference it made, as Redmond came out fast with 16 home runs before Memorial Day and 24 by mid-July.

Redmond deserved a promotion to Triple-A, but it didn’t come. With veteran Paul Goldschmidt manning first base in the big leagues and Triple-A home run leader Luken Baker at Memphis, Redmond was blocked. Even when Baker was called up to the big leagues for a couple of stints, Redmond remained at Springfield. 

It seemed no coincidence that he fell into a deep slump, going 23 games and 91 at-bats without a home run. The more days passed without a home run, the more Redmond pressed. 

“It definitely does feel like a huge burden, especially in a profession where it doesn’t matter how nice of a guy you are,” Redmond said of his struggles. “I mean, it does matter to a certain extent, but guys don’t get to make the big leagues just because they’re a nice guy. 

“Being in such a results-driven profession is super tough. But it’s been OK this year.”

Attitude readjustment from his wife helped Redmond bust out of slump

Redmond credited an attitude readjustment — courtesy of his wife, Kristin — with helping him bust out with a three-home-run game on Aug. 23 at Hammons Field. He hit another the next night and he’s hit .307 with 10 RBIs in 13 games since, looking more like his first-half self.

“I would say just my wife, talking me off the cliff was the key,” Redmond said earlier this week. “Just telling me that everything is going to be all right and reminding me that God has a plan. She’s just always there for me and is so supportive and that I’m not as bad as I think I am sometimes.

“She came out (to visit) and I won (Texas League) Player of the Week. Things typically go better when I have family in town. I was telling somebody else that in ’21 when I won it, Kristin was here. In ’22 when I won player of the week, my mom and my aunt were there.”

Chandler Redmond, wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform, gets ready to hit the baseball during a game
Chandler Redmond hit 16 home runs the first two months of the season and leads the Texas League with 29 home runs. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

Slugger is nearing make-or-break stage of career

Baseball is a game of ups and downs over its marathon season. But for guys like Redmond, who at 26 is nearing the make-or-break stage of his career, a prolonged slump can feel like carrying a piano on his back. To have things swing back to the other way down the stretch has been a relief, to say the least.

“It kind of takes you back to opening day, where everybody is trying to get that first hit,” Redmond said of the end to his home-run drought. “It seems like some people struggle, but once they get that first one out of the way it lights that fire and stuff starts coming through. That’s how that first one felt that day. It opened the floodgates and I was able to have a good game.”

Asked where his career is headed in 2024, Redmond shook his head as if to say your guess is as good as mine. He could wind up in Triple-A next year or perhaps with another organization with a less-crowded situation at first base. His bat would seemingly play as a designated hitter.

In a perfect world for him, Redmond would have a shot at winning a roster spot with the big-league Cardinals next spring. But Baker would seem to have the inside track on that, or perhaps St. Louis reserve Alec Burlison — who, like Redmond, hits from the left side — will fit that role.

There’s a lot of roster shuffling likely this winter as the Cardinals re-tool the roster after a disappointing season at the big-league level. Where that leaves Redmond — and many others — is TBA.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to shake out,” Redmond said. “Every time I think I know, something else happens. I’m just going to pray about it. I know what I want to happen, but I don’t know what God wants. I’m just going to try and do my best and not think about it.”

Pedro Pages, wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform, gets ready to hit the baseball during a game
Always a dependable defensive catcher, Pedro Pages took a leap forward at the plate this season with 15 home runs for the Springfield Cardinals. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

Manager says Redmond deserves credit for fighting through slump

No matter the result, Redmond said he will fondly remember his time in Springfield. 

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “The fans are great, the staff, (manager) Jose (Leger) have been awesome. It’s a great city to be in with a lot of really good food options. I think it’s one of the best places to play in the Texas League and I’m blessed to call it home.”

Leger said Redmond deserves credit for fighting through the prolonged slump and getting back to the motto that the manager preaches – control what you can and don’t worry about the rest.

“He’s never stopped working,” Leger said. “I think he was a little bit disappointed with how the second half started and I think he expected a lot more. He kind of put too much pressure on himself. Now he has found his rhythm at the plate again and he is swinging at better pitches and he is back on track.

“There are so many things outside of your control. If you start worrying about those things, they are going to become distractions. That’s the one thing that you don’t want. You don’t want to worry about, ‘If I don’t get promoted, why have I not been promoted?’ and this and that.

“We try to go day by day. You never know what is going to happen. A lot of guys who have been promoted were not expecting it, so it may be like that. Don’t expect the moves to be made. You’re right there, man. You see a lot of guys being promoted all the way from Double-A to the bigs and you don’t know if that’s going to happen this year or it can happen next year.”

Some Cardinals could be headed up to Triple-A Memphis

Some other players fans could be seeing for the final time in a Springfield uniform this weekend, because they are in line for promotions in 2024:

Pedro Pages, a catcher in his second season in Double-A, has always been a solid receiver, but has taken a step forward offensively with 14 home runs this season. The 24-year-old spent part of the 2022 season with Memphis.

Mike Antico is one of only four minor leaguers with at least 15 home runs and 40 stolen bases. The 25-year-old outfielder set a Springfield record with 51 steals and counting. He knocked in the winning runs on Thursday night, in a 10-inning victory over Tulsa, keeping the Cardinals one game out of the Texas League North Division lead. 

Thomas Saggese smiles while wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform
Thomas Saggese has been the cornerstone of the Springfield Cardinals’ offense since arriving as a trade-deadline acquisition. The 21-year-old is a leading candidate for Texas League MVP. He was called up to Triple-A Memphis on Friday, Sept. 8. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

Center fielder Victor Scott II, 22, has made the biggest move among Cardinals prospects, according to climbing 21 spots from the start of the season to No. 4 in August. A midseason call-up from High-A Peoria, Scott has a combined 87 stolen bases in 99 attempts. He’s 37 of 42 with Springfield.

One Cardinal who became a hitting sensation in his short stay in Springfield was promoted to Triple-A Memphis on Friday afternoon. Thomas Saggese, 21, is the probable Texas League MVP. Acquired from Texas in a trade-deadline deal for major-league pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton, Saggese leads the league in average (.318), is second in home runs (25) and first in RBIs (107). In 32 games with Springfield since the trade, Saggese had 10 home runs and 29 RBIs to go with a .331 average and 1.067 OPS. 

Cardinals at Hammons Field this week

Tuesday — Springfield 9, Tulsa 1

Wednesday — Springfield 5, Tulsa 2

Thursday — Springfield 5, Tulsa 4 (10 innings)

Friday — 7:05 p.m. vs. Tulsa (Mercy fleece pullover, first 2,000 fans; Friday Night Fireworks)

Saturday — 6:35 p.m. vs. Tulsa (Albert Pujols 703 bobblehead, first 2,000 fans; Mega Fireworks Extravaganza)

Sunday —  4:35 p.m. (Free ticket voucher, all fans; Closing Day Fans on Field Fireworks)

Tickets — Visit the Hammons Field box office or the Springfield Cardinals website

Lyndal Scranton

Lyndal Scranton is a Springfield native who has covered sports in the Ozarks for more than 35 years, witnessing nearly every big sports moment in the region during the last 50 years. The Springfield Area Sports Hall of Famer and live-fire cooking enthusiast also serves as PR Director for Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri and is co-host of the Tailgate Guys BBQ Podcast. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @LyndalScranton. More by Lyndal Scranton