Interview by Norm Coleman
Molly Radcliffe works in Ticket Sales and Alumni Relations for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Women Sport Report: What was your first job working in baseball? How did you obtain the position? How did that first job help you get to where you are today?
Molly Radcliffe: I started working in baseball in 2007 when I was hired by the Cardinals for their Season Ticket Sales Coordinator position. I had attended the St. Louis Cardinals first ever Career Fair earlier in the year, driving down to Busch Stadium from Columbia, Missouri where I attended University of Missouri, Columbia.
I met briefly with a few Cardinals employees and submitted my resume. I figured that was it, they said they might be hiring in a few months, but until then I knew I needed to find myself a job. I was actually working in Orlando for the Walt Disney Company when I received a phone call to come in for an interview. Working for the Cardinals had always been a dream of mine, so I booked an airline ticket, flew up to St. Louis for an hour-long interview and immediately flew back to Florida. A week later they told me they wanted me for the job.
WSR: What does your job consist of? What are your responsibilities?
Molly: My current position with the Cardinals is in Ticket Sales and Alumni Relations. It really covers so many areas of the Ticket Sales Department. Some of my responsibilities include coordinating SeasonTicket and Group Sales customer events, our annual DJ Luncheon and our first ever Social Media Night. I provide design support to our Department as well.
Another large part of my job is communicating with our Cardinals Alumni. We've really got a great program with our alumni and the Cardinals do their best to create a sense of family through that relationship for all of our former players. As far as game day duties, I host and entertain some of our premium clients in the Commissioner's Box. The best part of that job is seeing the looks on the faces of those fans when we take them down into the dugout for photos prior to the game.
WSR: When did you get interested in baseball? Who influenced you?
Molly: Baseball, more specifically Cardinals baseball, has always been a big part of my life. I was a fan because my dad was a fan; my dad was a fan because his dad was a fan and so on. It is really a generational thing. I have always loved the sport and the nostalgia it evokes. Baseball is one of the few sports where we really honor the heroes of the game.
Stan Musial, for instance, is revered in St. Louis. Every Opening Day when he comes out on his cart and drives around the warning track he gets a standing ovation. I would bet almost every fan has goose bumps watching that. Our fans are great; they appreciate effort, even when it doesn't end in a win. They are there through thick and thin and they understand the game. I could say my biggest influence is my family, but just being at Opening Day reminds me again how much I love it here.
WSR: What career were you considering while in college, and how, why and when did you change and go into baseball?
Molly: I majored in Journalism at the University of Missouri. My original career choice was to be a sportswriter. About a semester in I realized that as much as I love writing, I loved creating ideas and designs more, so I turned my focus to Strategic Communications. Baseball was always in the back of my mind as a career goal.
WSR: What do you love the most about your job?
I love the game and the feeling that it evokes and I love being a part of creating that for fans. I really enjoy making sure that fans who come to games get a true baseball experience. Going the extra mile to make sure that a kid leaves their first baseball game with a smile on their face is what makes working in sports worth it. Everyone that works for the Cardinals is instrumental in creating that experience. Whether it's the sales department, the field crew or the team, we all play a part and it's great to see it come together.
WSR: Aside from Stan (The Man) Musial, can you name a few other old-timers you have met?
Molly: Through my job I've met so many truly great-retired players: Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock and Stan the Man. I also met Whitey Herzog when we officially retired his number this year. St. Louis is blessed with many living Hall of Famers, we're lucky to have them and it's always great seeing them on Opening Day.
Red Schoendienst is one of my favorites. He is with the team a lot, helping out on the field before games. I will never forget the first time I met him and he gave me a fist pound. All I could think was, "Oh my God, Red Schoendienst is giving me a fist pound. I should be shaking this man's hand, not fist pounding him." That's what is great about him though, he's so down to earth and funny and genuinely nice. He's just one of the guys.
WSR: What current Major League players do you enjoy watching?
Molly: I love watching Albert Pujols, who is without a doubt one of the most talented baseball players to ever play the game. We all realize we are watching a future Hall of Famer playing right now. It is awesome. One of my other favorite players is Skip Schumaker. If you watch him before games you can just tell that he is a great guy. He always has a smile for the fans and is willing to sign a few autographs before heading down to the Clubhouse. And I have to respect anyone that can make the switch from an outfielder to a second baseman in one off-season.
WSR: What is the most difficult part of your job?
Molly: The most difficult part of my job is probably surviving the off-season. A lot of people would assume it is slow, considering the team is not playing, but it gets pretty crazy around here in December. We start all of our season prepping months in advance; invoicing, sales, advertising...there is definitely not a lot of down time.
WSR: Who was your mentor in baseball? Who helped you get to where you are now?
Molly: My parents are always the two people constantly encouraging me to reach for the stars. There is no way I would have applied for a job with a Major League Baseball team if they hadn't instilled that confidence in me from a young age. At work, I have a core group of friends and coworkers that helped me learn the ropes around the office. They are the people that have helped me survive and thrive working for the Cardinals.
WSR: Did you play sports in High School or College?
Molly: I lived and breathed sports in High School. I played volleyball and softball and was also on the cheerleading squad. I went to a small school so it was common to see one person involved in more than one sport. In college, it was all intramural sports like flag football and sand volleyball. Those sports were a little less structured, but always fun.
WSR: Where were you raised?
Molly: I was raised in Jacksonville, Illinois located in Central Illinois. The city name most often results in people giving me a blank stare that means "I never heard of it." I attended Routt Catholic High School and graduated from a class of only thirty-four.
WSR: Did you attend college?
Molly: I attended the University of Missouri in Columbia. I have a Bachelors Degree in Journalism.
WSR: What is the most outstanding memory you have working for your team?
Molly: Opening Day Ceremonies of 2010. I watched as all of our current players and Hall of Famers took the field together to be welcomed by the crowd. The crazy part was that I was standing in the Cardinals Dugout watching it. It is every kid's dream come true, there aren't even words to explain the feeling.
WSR: Which woman in baseball do you admire the most? If you could ask her one question, what would that be?
Molly: I really can't pick one woman that I admire most in baseball. All of the women that I work with are my mentors and they are all people I can aspire to be like in the workplace. The Cardinals are proof that baseball is not just a man's world anymore; there are many women in the Front Office here that have jobs of all levels.
WSR: Which women do you admire the most?
Molly: I admire my mother most, of all women. She is a teacher and that has to be one of the most difficult careers a person can choose. I feel as if teachers are never acknowledged enough for the work they do. None of us would be here today without the teachers that helped to get us here.
WSR: What makes you successful at your job?
Molly: I'm not afraid to ask questions and I ask for constructive criticism. No one gets better at their job by maintaining the same level of skill they began with. If something interesting and new pops up in the department or even in the company, I try to get involved. Social Media is in its very beginnings at the Cardinals, I knew I wanted to be a part of it and I had an understanding of how it worked. Just asking to sit in on a few meetings turned into becoming a part of the core group of people that helps facilitate social media for the Front Office.
WSR: What was the biggest obstacle you overcame to get into baseball?
Molly: I have been lucky with the path that brought me to the Cardinals. It has been relatively obstacle free. When I came in for my interview I was incredibly nervous. Even when I got the position, it meant a lot of changes. I had two weeks to move from Orlando to St. Louis and spent a few weeks living on a friend's couch before I was able to find a place to live. In the end it was completely worth it. Instead of being scared of changes I learned to see at them as opportunities.
WSR: What are a few of your favorite movies?
Molly: If we're talking sports movies, I really love Field of Dreams and Major League (everyone needs a little humor in their life). I have always been a huge Audrey Hepburn fan; Breakfast at Tiffany's and Charade are my favorites.
WSR: When did you see your first professional baseball game?
Molly: Truthfully, I have no idea what happened at the first game I attended. I have been going to Cardinals games since I was a baby. One thing I distinctly remember about the earlier games though, was seeing Ozzie Smith doing his signature back flip. I thought he was the "coolest" baseball player ever.
WSR: What is your favorite baseball book?
Molly: My favorite baseball book is Cardinals Memories: Recollections from Baseball's Greatest Fans by Tina Wright. This book just really brings home what Cardinals baseball is all about. The past is what makes baseball great today. Stories like these are what make me appreciate why the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball in general are so special. Baseball has the ability to bring people together.
WSR: Aside from your team, what teams do you follow?
Molly: I love College Football and I'm a big fan of Missouri. I will always support my local teams - the Blues and Rams. We St. Louis teams have to stick together! I love watching sports live. If I can make it to a football game or a hockey game, regardless of how much I care about the teams involved, I end up getting swept up with the crowd and invested in the outcome.
WSR: What are a few of your favorite things?
Molly: Baking is without a doubt one of my favorite things to do. I have been keeping my coworkers fed for the past three years with all of the cookies and cupcakes I bake. If I ever decide to leave sports, I will have to figure out some way to set up a bakery near the stadium. I love books and movies as well. I cannot count how many I own, I really have a problem and am running out of room to store them.
WSR: How do you feel about instant replay, not counting ball & strikes? Should baseball employ instant replay?
Molly: I used to think that one of the best parts of baseball is that it relies so much on the human eye. It leaves room for a lot of error, but it seems more pure that way. With that in mind, after seeing a Detroit Tigers pitcher (Galaraga) one out shy of a perfect game lose it all on a blown call, I think that maybe it can be used in certain circumstances.
That was painful to watch, not only did he lose his perfect game, but also Umpire Jim Joyce was just as upset. I'm sure at that point; he would have appreciated the added benefit of instant replay. The question is how do we keep it in check, when do we use it and is there a penalty for asking a call to be overturned if in fact the original call was correct. It's something that will require a lot of detail and forethought if it is going to work.
WSR: What is the most creative part of you?
Molly: I would say my creativity stems from wanting to make everything a little bit better. If a flyer is being sent out to all of our Season Ticket Holders, I want to make sure everything looks great, including the design, the information on it and the layout. We may spend an extra day on it, but in the end it is better to have a great, finished product go out a day late, than a lackluster project go out on time.
WSR: What do you do for relaxation after work?
Molly: I like to spend time with my friends or if it has been a really hectic week, I will just go home and curl up on the couch with a book and some hot chocolate.
WSR: Do you have a favorite quote?
Molly: Yes. "It is not what happens to you, it is what you do about it." This quote pretty much sums up my attitude about life. Instead of complaining about something because I am unhappy, or think things will never change, I try to do something about it.
WSR: What kind of music do you like? Have a favorite band or song?
Molly: My favorite song is "Hey Jude" by the Beatles. My favorite bands/performers are Muse, Maroon 5 and Michael Buble. I really love all kinds of music though. I grew up playing the piano, so I love listening to classical music. I also love baking in the kitchen while listening to Frank Sinatra. And when I'm reading I might throw on some Italian Opera. It's an eclectic group.
WSR: Do you travel? What is your favorite American city?
Molly: I love traveling when I have the time and the money! I spent a semester abroad when I was in college, studying in London. I didn't know a soul over there, but it was one of the best experiences of my life.
I also spent about a year in Orlando, Florida working for Disney. That is a great way to meet people from all over the world, without ever having to leave the country. My favorite city in America is probably Chicago. The architecture there is insane. I could just walk around that city and stare at buildings all day long. It's a big city with a small town feel to it too, which is a quality I like having grown up in the Midwest.
WSR: What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Molly: I would love to continue on with the Cardinals Organization long-term. I hope to be happy and healthy in five years, but it is hard for me to picture exactly where I see myself. Maybe married, who knows?
WSR: What do you do during the off-season?
Molly: I catch up on sleep! Seriously, the off-season is often times just as crazy as during the season. When I have some time to kill though, I like to get out as much as possible and see the things in St. Louis that I might not get a chance to when the team is in town.
I love going to movies and spending time at Forest Park. Forest Park is, in my opinion, one of the best things about St. Louis. How many cities can boast of a huge park, right in the middle of an urban area? And it has a great zoo, history museum and art museum - all free! I sound like an ad for them, but it is really just a great place to spend time.
WSR: What advice would you give a young woman considering a career in baseball?
Molly: First impressions mean a lot. Don't be afraid to speak up and never be afraid to ask questions. Also, always research the sport and especially the team you want to work for. There is nothing more embarrassing than not having knowledge of the game or the team when applying for a job. It is just like any other interview for any other job, always come prepared.
Norm Coleman is an actor, sports writer and retired professional photographer.
He resides in Half Moon Bay, California.