Thomas “Mike” Shannon

Mike Shannon practicing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. [Arthur Witman Photograph Collection (S0733)]

Thomas "Mike" Shannon

Full Name: Thomas "Mike" Shannon
Born: July 15, 1939
Died: April 29, 2023
Missouri Hometowns: Saint Louis
Regions of Missouri: Saint Louis
Categories: Athletes, Entrepreneurs


Mike Shannon was a baseball player and sports broadcaster from St. Louis, Missouri. Though he was a star in several sports as a teenager, Shannon’s career in baseball, both as a player and broadcaster, made him a notable figure for the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball.

Early Years and Education

Thomas “Mike” Shannon was born in St. Louis on July 15, 1939, to Thomas A. Shannon and Elizabeth Richason Shannon. His father was a police officer who later earned a law degree and became a St. Louis prosecuting attorney.

Growing up in a Catholic family, Shannon attended Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic School and Christian Brothers College (CBC) High School. While at CBC, he excelled in athletics, particularly basketball, baseball, and football. During his senior year, he guided the football team to an undefeated season and was named the Missouri High School Player of the Year in both football and basketball, the state’s only athlete to ever receive the honor in both sports in the same year. Today, the baseball stadium at Christian Brothers College High School bears his name.

University of Missouri

After graduating from CBC in 1957, Shannon enrolled at the University of Missouri on a football scholarship. Freshmen were not eligible to play for varsity teams in 1957, so instead he was the quarterback for the freshman football team, which featured future Missouri Tigers gridiron stars such as Mel West, Norris Stevenson, and Dan LaRose. Impressed by his performance, the football coaching staff expressed hope that he would compete for a starting position on the varsity squad during his second season. Frank Broyles, who coached Shannon at the University of Missouri, later said he believed Shannon could have been one of the best college football players of his generation if he had continued to play after his freshman year.

Turning Professional

After his freshman year, however, Shannon signed a big contract to play baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. Like his father before him, who had played briefly in the Cardinals’ organization in the 1930s, Shannon started his professional career in the minor leagues. From 1958 to 1962 he played for the Albany Cardinals, Winston-Salem Red Birds, Memphis Chickasaws, Portland Beavers, Tulsa Oilers, Seattle Rainiers, and Atlanta Crackers. Near the end of the 1962 season, Shannon was called up to the major leagues as an outfielder. He played in just a few games in the majors that year and then bounced back and forth between the Cardinals and the minor leagues during the 1963 and 1964 seasons.

Cardinals in the 1960s

During the 1964 season, Shannon became a more regular member of the Cardinals’ lineup and remained there for the rest of his career. Though he spent most of his early career in right field, a trade for former New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris in 1967 convinced Shannon to move to third base. He was a starter on the Cardinals’ 1964 and 1967 World Series championship teams, which defeated the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, respectively. Shannon also holds the distinction of being the last Cardinal to hit a home run at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis before it closed in May 1966, as well as the first to hit a home run at the new Busch Stadium when it opened later that month.

Shannon’s best years with the Cardinals were from 1966 to 1968, when he had at least 100 hits, 60 runs batted in, and 12 home runs each season. In arguably his best season, 1968, he finished in the top ten in voting for the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award, but behind three of his teammates, Lou Brock, Curt Flood, and Bob Gibson. Despite their remarkable statistics, the Cardinals were unable to win another championship that year as they lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers. Near the end of the 1970 season, Shannon developed a kidney disease that brought his playing career to a sudden end.

In the Broadcast Booth

After his retirement from baseball, Shannon was hired to join the Cardinals’ promotional and broadcasting team. In 1972, only a few years after the legendary announcer Harry Caray left the Cardinals, Shannon joined another legend, Jack Buck, for the team’s radio broadcasts. For the next thirty years, until Buck’s death in 2002, the duo called baseball games for KMOX and the Cardinals Radio Network. After Buck, Shannon was paired with other announcers, particularly John Rooney, and former players to call games. In the 1980s, he also occasionally called games nationally for NBC.

Shannon became known for his colorful commentary during baseball games, especially his offbeat “Shannonisms” that made listeners both laugh and scratch their heads. His most famous catchphrase, “Get Up,” encouraged hard-hit balls by Cardinals players to “Get Up” and over the outfield fence. He received numerous awards for his broadcasting, including a local Emmy Award in 1985 and Missouri Sportscaster of the Year in 2002 and 2003. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 2021, Shannon announced that he would retire from the broadcast booth at the end of the season, his fiftieth as a radio announcer. With his retirement in 2021, Shannon had been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals as a player or broadcaster for sixty-four seasons.


In his second retirement, Shannon continued to follow the Cardinals on and off the field, while also taking part in managing his family’s chain of St. Louis-based restaurants that first opened in the 1980s. Mike Shannon died in Marion, Illinois, on April 29, 2023. On May 2, 2023, the Cardinals honored Shannon, along with his former teammate and fellow broadcaster Tim McCarver, who had died two months before him, with a memorial presentation before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Text and research by Sean Rost

References and Resources

For more information about Mike Shannon’s life and career, see the following resources:

Society Resources

The following is a selected list of books, articles, and manuscripts about Mike Shannon in the research centers of The State Historical Society of Missouri. The Society’s call numbers follow the citations in brackets.

Articles from the Newspaper Collection

  • Herman, Jack. “Mike Shannon Gets $40,000 Bird Bonus.” St. Louis Globe-Democrat. June 12, 1958. p. 2C.
  • Hummel, Rick, Derrick Goold, Dan Caesar. “From field to booth, Shannon became icon.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. May 1, 2023. p. A1, A12.
  • “If Weather Allows…Tigers Plan Scrimmage.” Columbia Missourian. March 24, 1958. p. 9, 14.
  • “Missouri Lands CBC’s 3-Sport Star Shannon.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 23, 1957. p. 6E.
  • “Tiger Gridders Show Hustle, Running.” Columbia Missourian. April 14, 1958. p. 10.

Books and Articles

  • Brown, John W. Missouri Legends: Famous People from the Show Me State. St. Louis: Reedy Press, 2008. [REF F508 B8132]
  • Hochman, Benjamin. The Big 50 St. Louis Cardinals: The Men and Moments that made the St. Louis Cardinals. Chicago: Triumph Books, 2018. [REF H235.131 H656]

Manuscript Collection

  • Arthur Witman Papers (S0455)
    The Arthur Witman Papers contain Witman’s correspondence, book reviews, news clippings, articles, and speeches from 1934 to 1978. While S0455 does not have photographs from Witman’s career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, addenda collections S0541, S0549, S0665, S0702, S0717, S0732, S0733, S0794, S0836 do contain photographs, including images of Mike Shannon and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960s.

Outside Resources

These links will take you outside the Society’s website. The Society is not responsible for the content of the following websites:

  • Society of American Baseball Research
    The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) is a membership organization focused on research, scholarship, and statistics of the history of baseball. This website is hosted by SABR and features biographies of several former St. Louis Cardinals, including Mike Shannon.
  • St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum
    This website is hosted by Major League Baseball (MLB) and features information about Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum.