The 2011 St. Louis Cardinal campaign provided St. Louis fans with a season for the history books. It is a season that Birds fans will be talking about forever. It was the greatest comeback in franchise history and arguably the greatest comeback for a team in the history of the game. Game 6 of the World Series could not have been written any better than Academy Award winning writers. It was the epitome of a “nail biter”. What looked like certain elimination, not once but twice, resulted in a series of moments that will be told throughout the ages.
A young star emerged onto the center stage of this historical baseball production. His feats reaffirmed why this game is our National Pastime and why it is the greatest game on Earth. David Freese, the hometown boy that grew up dreaming about being a St. Louis Cardinal, became the hometown hero. His performance in the post season has concreted his position in Cardinal lore. There is no way to tell what the future will bring for Mr. Freese. However, he will always be that hometown boy that changed Cardinal history.
Yet, he is not the first hometown boy that stepped center stage and played well for the Birds. The hometown mindset brings me to this week’s addition of Who am I? Name that Cardinal. The percentage of young men that actually make it in to professional baseball is extremely low. But, to make it the pro level in your hometown and play for your childhood favorite team, those stats would have to be astronomically low. You may have a better chance at winning the lottery. So without further delay, here the clues. See how you do this week.
Who am I:
I was born on July 15, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri
I graduated from Christian Brothers College High School (CBC) in St. Louis in 1957
I was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1958.
If football would have paid better in those days I would have pursued a career in Football. I always thought I was better on the gridiron compared to the baseball diamond. My former football coach said if I would have stayed in school I may have won the Heisman Trophy.
I made my major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 11, 1962
I would play 8 seasons for the Birds before my final game on August 12, 1970
I played in three World Series and won two of them
I was a career .255 hitter
I finished 7th in the MVP voting in 1968
I was forced into retirement due to a medical condition, nephritis, a kidney disease.
My nickname as a player was “Moon Man”
I had some World Series exploits of my own. I hit a 2 run homer of Whitey Ford in the 1964 World Series to tie the game in game 1. We went on to win the Series that year.
Even though I retired in 1970, I didn’t end my tenure with the Cardinals. In 1971, I joined the front office in the Promotions department. The following season I moved into the broadcast booth with the future hall of famer, Jack Buck.
I have remained in this position for the last 40 years.
I am known for my unique style of calling a game and my off the wall descriptions and comments.
I have been quoted as saying, broadcasting from New York under a full moon:
“I wish you folks back in St. Louis could see this moon.”
Referring to a questionable ruling by the official scorer:
“Well, no one’s perfect. Only one guy was ever perfect, Jack, and they nailed him to a tree!”
Referring to Japanese pitching sensation Hideo Nomo:
“He’s is the biggest thing to hit Japan since they dropped that bomb on Nagashima!”
Referring to a young fan who was hit with a foul ball:
“And that youngster will leave the stadium with a souvenir today. Not a ball, but a nice looking bruise
After a batter leading off the ninth inning with his team down by three took a mighty swing but missed:
“He was trying to hit a three run homer with the bases empty. To my knowledge, no one in the history of the game has ever done that. But it could happen someday. You never know in this world of baseball.”
Referring to the Busch Stadium organist:
“Ernie Hayes is up there playing with his organ.”
“I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.”
“A hit up the middle right now would be like a nice ham sandwich and a cold, frosty one.”
“Get up baby. Oh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
Who am I? Click here for the answer.