(KSDK Sports) - In his career, Jim Edmonds played for six MLB teams and won eight gold gloves. But he will be best known as a Cardinal and is certainly one of the most popular players to play for them in the last 20 years.
Edmonds' acrobatic catches and clutch game-winning home runs are the stuff of legend in Cardinal Nation, so it is appropriate that he finally be included in the next "tradition" of former Cardinals - helping impart wisdom during Spring Training.
On the first day of full squad workouts for the Cardinals in Jupiter, Edmonds was back in uniform, but this time as a "coach."
But what type of wisdom is Edmonds looking to impart to the team's current players?
"We had a nice meeting today and it was all about the respect of the game, the organization and the uniform. It kind of hit home, when you realize after you've played, how much that means to you, the fans and the city. A little bit of tradition, a little bit of baseball, and a little bit of everything," said Edmonds.
Edmonds may be out of the game, but he is not that far removed from this year's club. Catcher Yadier Molina was his teammate for three years, and is now a team leader. And many of the younger players grew up watching Edmonds play, and respect him. So when he speaks, his words will probably be louder than most?
"It's sort of an awkward situation for me because when I was here as a player, the guys who coached us were a lot older. Lou, Gibby, Red, so there was never really a younger set of coaches that came in that much. Willie didn't come much, Ozzie wasn't around. So it's a little different. It's kind of a hard situation for me to know where I stand yet," said Edmonds.
That's probably because he looks like he can still play, and has said he doesn't feel 'retired.'
"I feel like I can still go out there and play. That's the hard thing. I'm only 42 and I'm in better shape than I was in the last three or four years of my career."
Injuries played a part in Edmonds career decline, eventually forcing the Cardinals to trade the popular center fielder to San Diego for David Freese in December of 2007.
"But I feel great, but my playing days are a part the past, and I'm just grateful to be here representing this wonderful organization. I'm just trying to help."