It was 1957 and my brother took me to a Cardinals game at Sportsman’s Park. There are a myriad of reason I was a Cardinals fan. From my grandfather taking my mom to taking us to games was a primary reason. The grandfather was a depot agent and he had a way of hopping the train from Central Illinois to St. Louis to attend. I never got to do that but sounds like fun (at least in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s).
On this particular day I got to attend a game with my brother. After the game we hung around the stadium. It wasn’t very busy and we had a baseball with us. On the day, Red Schoendienst sauntered by and saw me holding the ball. He started the conversation by asking if I wanted him to sign the ball. I looked at my brother and he shook his head “yes”. Red took about 2-3 minutes talking to me about whether I liked baseball, who my favorite players were and general good guy chit-chat.
It was likely because of this encounter, my first with a major leaguer, that I became hooked on the St. Louis Cardinals. I never chatted with him again but he made it easy to like him, like baseball and have fun at the park, all while wearing the BirdsontheBat.
As you can see, I still have the baseball.
Happy Birthday, Red!
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