The St. Louis Cardinals all came from different high school situations. What’re some of the histories behind your hometown favorites?
With prom season in full swing, it’s high time to honor the high schools of current St. Louis Cardinals. From Kolten Wong’s Kamehameha High in Hawaii to Harrison Bader’s Horace Mann School in the Bronx, Redbird players have been schooled in every sort of prep environment, some more highfalutin than others.
Jack Flaherty, for instance, has a high school pedigree that might surprise you. The gritty young hurler with the Irish name attended Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, one of the most exclusive and academically challenging prep schools in America. H-W is the second-best private high school in America, according to niche.com. Tuition is $39,700 a year.
There’s a reason they call it Harvard-Westlake.
Harrison Bader’s private high school in the Bronx is equally illustrious and even more expensive, costing $51,000 a year. Horace Mann alumni include the controversial lawyer Roy Cohn, who worked with Joseph McCarthy, and Barry Scheck, a key member of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” defense.
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Other players’ schools are more notable for mascots and game-day traditions. The Woodlands High in Texas, Paul Goldschmidt’s school, is home to the one-of-a-kind Puffy Pine Cone, a figure designed by the folks who gave us Barney the Dinosaur. Only Puffy looks more like Barney the Stegosaurus, with spiky looking protrusions that roughly resemble the knobs on a pine cone.
You can’t overlook Puffy. He comes with vertical, manga-style eyes and enormous green sneakers.
Adam Wainwright’s old school, Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., was founded way back in 1788, making it the sixth-oldest U.S. public high school. One of Glynn’s students chose the Red Terrors nickname in 1918, a year after the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia.
The Glynn Academy website says the student “chose this name based on a phrase that described the political and violent campaigns of ‘Red Terror’ by communist movements, potentially the scariest concept to Americans at that time.”
Paul DeJong played for the Sequoits (pronounced see-kwoyts) of Antioch Community High in Illinois. According to Why Mascots Have Nicknames, Sequoit derives from an Iroquois word that means “smooth pebbles in the bed of a stream.”
Give that one an A-plus for originality, but what do the cheerleaders chant? “Come wash over us?”
Several St. Louis Cardinals led their high school teams to championships, starting with Matt Carpenter, who was coached by his father, Rick Carpenter. The 2002 Lawrence E. Elkins Knights were named national champions by Baseball America and USA Today.
Dexter Fowler led Milton High to a Georgia title in 2004; Goldschmidt led The Woodlands High to a Texas title in 2006, and Flaherty led the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines to a California crown in 2013.
Flaherty, by the way, is the only two-time winner of the MaxPreps National High School Player of the Year, an honor he received in 2013 and 2014.
Several current Cardinals excelled in other sports. Matt Wieters played running back for his Stratford (S.C.) Knights football team and Wainwright was an all-state receiver in Georgia — and an all-region placekicker!
Five-foot-10-inch Jedd Gyorko of University High in Morgantown, W.V., averaged 18.2 points and earned first-team all-state basketball honors as a senior. The 6-foot-6-inch Michael Wacha played center and led his Pleasant Grove team (Texarkana, Tex.) to the regional finals his senior year.
Dexter Fowler turned down an offer to play basketball for Harvard after high school, which means he’s plenty smart. “I just wanted to go and play baseball, but I definitely could have gone and played at numerous Ivy League schools,” he told Denver’s CBS4 in 2012.
Other Cardinal brainiacs: Wacha was a member of the National Honor Society, as was Mike Mayers, who graduated from Ohio’s Grove City High with a 3.95 grade-point average. DeJong graduated cum laude from Antioch Community High in Illinois, where he was the science department’s “most outstanding student” and the senior class’ “most outstanding boy.” He went on to Illinois State where he was an Academic All-American majoring in biochemistry and pre-medicine.
Appropriately, DeJong played for the Redbirds — Illinois State’s nickname — in college.
The finest of all accomplishments may belong to those who found lasting love back in high school.
Yadier Molina met Wanda Torres while he was attending Ladislao Martinez High in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. They married in 2007 and have three children.
Adam Wainwright wed Jenny Curry, his high school sweetheart, in 2004. They have four daughters and a son.
Matt Carpenter dated Mackenzie Detmore while the two were at Elkins High. Both attended Texas A&M, and they married in 2011. They have a boy and a girl.
Miles Mikolas and his wife Lauren attended Florida’s Jupiter High. They married in 2014 and have a daughter and twins, a boy and a girl.
For these Cardinals, especially, high school meant more than just after-school sports and prom night. From all these different places, they come together to all wear the Birds on the Bat which we can all celebrate.