JOPLIN, Mo. -- Leaders of the St. Louis Cardinals, including manager Mike Matheny, are going to Joplin to help build homes in the tornado-ravaged community, the team said Thursday.
Matheny, team president Bill DeWitt, general manager John Mozeliak, hitting coach and one-time home run king Mark McGwire and others will join professional builders and Habitat for Humanity volunteers Monday to help build five homes in a designated Cardinals” neighborhood.
The work is being done as part of Gov. Jay Nixon’s Joplin Challenge as the community continues to recover from the May 22, 2011, tornado that killed 161 people and damaged a large section of the southwest Missouri town.
Missouri state officials and volunteers from the minor-league Springfield Cardinals also plan to participate in the building project, along with the five families who will move into the homes later this year.
The effort by the Cardinals is among several efforts to help Joplin by Missouri’s professional sports teams and other former and current athletes.
The Cardinals and Royals sold jerseys, autographed items and commemorative patches during an interleague series in June 2011.
Players from both the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams visited Joplin in the aftermath of the tornado, donating everything from food and water to their time in picking up debris from damaged homes and businesses. The teams recognized rescue crews and volunteers and collected donations from fans when they met in a preseason game last August.
Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. was in Joplin in April to help with a Habitat for Humanity project.