By Casey Nolen
St. Louis (KSDK) - Long before he was named the new Cardinals manager, Variety The Children's Charity of St. Louis named Mike Matheny a "Champion for Kids."
For many, Mike Matheny's work off the field begins on a field in Chesterfield where you can trace his commitment to the St. Louis community back long before there was any talk of him managing the Cardinals.
It's one thing to be cooped-up inside trying to play baseball in the winter, and another to think you may never step foot on a field.
Fourteen-year-old Sam Hoscher has the passion, but his wheel chair and ventilator keep him from playing on a traditional ball diamond.
"We actually went looking for a field for him to play baseball on and couldn't find one that wasn't dirt or grass and had bumps and things that his chair couldn't go on," says his mother Dana Hoscher.
"It was frustrating because he couldn't go out a play a sport that he loved."
But in 2005, that changed for him and dozens of other kids when then former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny opened the Catch 22 Miracle Field in Chesterfield.
Named for Matheny's Catch 22 Foundation, the field is a completely flat surface that's friendly to wheel chairs, walkers and crutches.
The Catch 22 Foundation also helped build another field in Fairview Heights and raised $100,000 for a planed field at Ranken Jordan a pediatric specialty hospital in St. Louis.
And Parents say Matheny is also an inspiration to those who play in the parks.
"We wouldn't have the field. I don't think it would be there today if Mike hadn't started this," says Dana Hoscher. "Tony (La Russa) was great out in the community and I think Mike will pick up right where he left off."