I took a little jaunt out of town this weekend with a friend and my trip was Cardinals themed. I headed down to Little Rock on Friday to visit the Clinton Presidential Library. What does a Presidential library have to do with the Cardinals, you are thinking? Well, former President Clinton grew up a Cardinals fan, and right now there is an exhibit at the Center dedicated to the St. Louis Cardinals. The exhibit runs through September 16, 2012 and features pictures, videos and memorabilia dedicated to the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
When you enter the exhibit it begins with a history of the Cardinals’ organization, going back to its start. The walls contain pictures and a timeline of significant events in Cardinal history. There is a case that contains jerseys from several Cardinals eras up to the present. There are photographs and memorabilia dedicated to the Cardinals’ Triple A organization in Memphis. There is also a wall dedicated to Cardinals’ broadcasters throughout Cardinal history. Memorabilia include signed baseballs by Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith, and other memorable Cardinal players. Gloves, bats, shoes, and jerseys of individual Cardinal players are scattered throughout the exhibit. Shoes include a pair worn by Lou Brock.
The exhibit also includes world series rings from various series wins, including 1942 and 2006. There is also a World Series pocket watch. Also in the exhibit is the 2006 World Series Commissioner”s trophy. The 2011 Commissioner’s trophy is scheduled to make its appearance in the exhibit starting on July 4, 2012. Replicas of the Hall of Fame plaques from every Cardinals Hall of Famer line one wall and statues of various Cardinals players are placed along that same wall.
In the last room of the exhibit is a wall dedicated to the 2011 World Series Cardinals. A video plays continuously of Cardinals players discussing what it was like to win the World Series. A timeline with pictures is on the wall and a glass case contains memorabilia from the Series including Jon Jay‘s jersey and Jaime Garcia‘s shoes. There are many more things in this exhibit than what I have described here, and the exhibit is well worth a visit.
I actually visited the museum on Saturday morning, and after a nice lunch at the museum restaurant I headed to Memphis to attend the game between the Memphis Redbirds and the Iowa Cubs at Auto Zone Park that evening, Cardinals top pitching prospect Shelby Miller was on the mound for the Redbirds. The Redbirds have been struggling this season, in part because the team has been raided of its top talent by the major league team to replace injured players. The starting squad includes new players acquired from other teams, such as Jamie Romak, Lou Montanez and Aaron Bates. The Redbirds lost the game 6-4, with Shelby Miller giving up 2 HRs and recently demoted Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas also giving up a HR, though he did strike out two. The bright spot was a 2-4 night for Zack Cox, who hit a HR and a double. Despite the loss, it was an enjoyable evening at the ball park and my first (and maybe only) visit to Auto Zone Park.
I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to check out the Play Ball exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. The admission price is a measly $7 and the staff at the Center are all very pleasant and helpful. The rest of the museum is also worth the visit, political views nothwithstanding, as the musuem contains a to-scale replica of the oval office, an actual secret service limousine in the lobby, and some very fine art work, including an original Peale portrait of George Washington. If you are a Bill Clinton fan or a history buff or just curious, the exhibits are well worth checking out as well.