The Cardinals announced Wednesday that former Cardinal Willie McGee is joining the team as a Special Assistant to the General Manager and will focus his attention on the minor leagues. McGee, 54, spent time in Cardinals Spring Training camp last month, serving as a Special Instructor.

“We are pleased to announce Willie’s return to the Cardinals organization,” said Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “Willie has a wealth of experience in the game and he is eager to pass on his observations and teachings.”

McGee, beloved by Cardinals fans, spent 18 years in the majors with St. Louis (1982-90, 1996-99), Oakland (1990), San Francisco (1991-94) and Boston (1995). The switch-hitting outfielder compiled a .295 batting mark with 79 home runs, 856 RBI and 352 stolen bases in 2,201 games played.

McGee currently ranks among the Cardinals top-10 career leaders in games played (1,661), triples (83), stolen bases (301), and pinch-hits (59).

Wearing his familiar uniform #51, McGee first drew acclaim during the Cardinals 1982 World Championship season. He earned National League MVP honors in 1985 with a league-leading .353 batting mark, helping the Cardinals to an N.L. Championship. His .353 batting mark from 1985 still stands as the best ever by a Cardinals switch-hitter as do his 216 hits that season. McGee had 17 game-winning RBI that season, also the top all-time mark amongst Redbird switch-hitters.

McGee would again lead the senior circuit in batting (.335) in 1990 even though he was traded to Oakland in late August. The San Francisco native enjoyed All-Star seasons in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1988 and he earned three Rawlings Gold Glove awards (1983, 1985, 1986).

McGee was a 1st round draft pick by the New York Yankees during the January secondary phase of the draft in 1977. He was dealt to the Cardinals in October of 1981 for pitcher Bob Sykes.