It’s been 21 years since Danny Cox threw a baseball for pay, but the old righthander still gets anxious in the weeks prior to spring training.
“I think about it and it hurts,” Cox said during a Cardinals’ Caravan stop in Carbondale Jan. 17. “I know I can’t do it any more. Those days have long gone by. This time of the year, I’m getting ready to go to spring training. I’m throwing and I’m running.
“Now I just turn the radio on and listen to it, and find out who’s doing well.”
For most of his 11 seasons in the majors, the first six of those with St. Louis, Cox did pretty well. In 152 outings as a Cardinal, Cox went 56-56 with a 3.40 earned run average, going 18-9 in 1985 with 10 complete games over 35 starts.
His most memorable outing while wearing the jersey with birds on the bat might have been in Game 7 of the 1987 National League Championship Series, when he authored an eight-hit shutout of the San Francisco Giants on three days' rest to propel St. Louis into the World Series.
Cox’s last pitch with the Cardinals came in 1988, and it was his last pitch until 1991 due to injuries. He spent the last five years of his career working mostly out of the bullpen, winning a World Series with Toronto in 1993 as he pitched to a 3.12 ERA in 44 appearances.
Since retiring, Cox has filled a variety of roles, serving as a minor league manager, coach and pitching instructor. But his favorite role happens outdoors, and has nothing to do with filling out a lineup card or helping a prospect refine a breaking ball.
A hunting and fishing enthusiast, Cox has his own outdoors show on Monday nights on a St. Louis radio station. His passion for the outdoors is evident, whether you listen to it for about 90 seconds while scanning the dial or catch the show every week.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We try to have a good time with it, talking about how my guests get involved with it. Was it their grandma, their mom, their dad? There’s just something about the outdoors. My favorite time to go fishing is when it’s raining. Put some stuff on, go outside while everyone else is holed up inside. Might as well enjoy Mother Nature.”
Something else Cox enjoys is his continued role with the Cardinals. He notes the franchise is a national team, noting that you can watch a broadcast of any game and see fans heavily populating visitors’ stadiums, and enjoys attending the winter caravans with the franchise’s fresh faces.
“They start as a kid, playing the game, and now they’re young men coming up and doing this for a living,” he said. “It’s still like playing in the sandlot, but you’re counted on to do the job so you can maintain that position. They realize that, but they have to have fun.”