ST. LOUIS -- A man who earned the nickname "Super Joe" with the St. Louis Cardinals and the organization's long-time Triple-A manager were the first to interview for the team's managing vacancy.
A person familiar with the search told The Associated Press the Cardinals began the search for Tony La Russa's replacement by meeting with lower-key candidates Joe McEwing and Chris Maloney.
McEwing, a super sub with St. Louis in 1999, was hired as third base coach for new Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura earlier this week after success at the minor league level. Maloney has managed the Cardinals Triple-A Memphis affiliate the last five years.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the search is not public.
Ryne Sandberg, ruled out earlier this week for the Chicago Cubs' managing vacancy, is among other candidates who will be interviewing with the Cardinals.
Sandberg managed the Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A team last season and the Phillies said they have granted the Cardinals permission to talk to him.
General manager John Mozeliak said in an email to the AP that the Cardinals had not determined a public strategy for the search to find a new manager. La Russa resigned this week, three days after the team won the World Series.
Terry Francona and an in-house candidate, third base coach Jose Oquendo, are also believed to be on the Cardinals' list. Theo Epstein, the Cubs new president of baseball operations, told Sandberg on Wednesday that he wasn't a candidate to replace the fired Mike Quade.
The 39-year-old McEwing was a reserve most of his nine-year major league career. The exception was 1999, when he played at six positions while batting .275 with nine homers and 44 RBIs in 152 games.
McEwing joined the White Sox in 2008 as hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte and managed at Triple-A Charlotte last season.
The 50-year-old Maloney has been a minor league coach or manager the last 20 years, and joined the Cardinals staff this fall after Memphis' second-place finish in the Pacific Coast League. Memphis won the title in 2010.
Earlier this week, team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said the Cardinals would not be in a "rush" to hire a replacement. La Russa resigned on Monday but the front office was aware of his plans to step down since August.
DeWitt was noncommittal whether major league experience was necessary for the job.
"There are good young talents out there. Everyone starts somewhere," DeWitt said. "It should be a very desirable situation and I know there will be candidates out there calling, texting, writing, whatever they do."