Oct 28th, 2006 · Categories: Sports · 2 Comments

Sports: It’s the Cards in 5! Woohoo!

I’ve been a Cardinal fan since I first started listening to Harry Caray broadcast their games on radio. Yes, Harry Caray – before he went to the Cubs, before he went to the White Sox, before he went to the Oakland A’s. Harry broadcast games for the Cardinals.

Actually I started out as a Yankee fan – not surprising for a kid growing up in the 50s with Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Casey Stengel at the helm. But my older brother told me I was just a front-runner, a hopper-on of bandwagons, that I should follow the team in St Louis 90 miles away that labored in the old Sportsman’s Park.

Well, why not? They had Stan Musial, after all. So I switched loyalties and never looked back. As much I as enjoyed the Cards’ successes in the 60s, the uncharacteristic fall by Curt Flood that allowed the Detroit Tigers to win game 7 in ’68 hurt – especially on the heels of the St. Louis victory over the Yankees in ’67.

[As Bob Ryan pointed out on ESPN, this was the third meeting between the Cards and Tigers. The Cards had won the first meeting (long before my time), so this was the rubber match. That makes it a little sweeter.]

After the ’82 Series win, the collapse from a 3-1 lead against the Royals was a bitter loss. The loss in ’87 to the woeful Twins – who seemed unable to win a road game all year – was even worse. With each team winning its home games, why couldn’t this have been a year when the NL got four home games?

I missed Whitey Herzog and “Whitey Ball”. I missed Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee and Tommy Herr and Bob Forsch and Bruce Sutter and all the rest of the great Cardinals of the 80s.

But the strike in ’94 turned me away from baseball completely. The home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa briefly re-kindled my interest, but then came the performance-enhancing drugs. When the Cards got swept by the Red Sox in the ’04 Series, I pretty much lost interest again.

But this year’s win may bring me back. Like the teams of the 80s, these Cardinals found a way to win. It wasn’t Whitey Ball, but it was fun to watch.

One thing I missed last night was having a conversation with my grandmother. She was a die-hard fan, listening to every game – at least until she fell asleep. I was starting my teaching career in Missouri when the Cards won in ’82 and I had a long conversation on the phone with her, celebrating the win. She died a couple of years later at age 94. She would have enjoyed talking about this one too.

One other thing was missing, Jack Buck’s sparkling play-by-play. “That’s a winner!” “Go crazy, folks!” I wish he could have been in the booth for this one too.

I spent many afternoons and evenings in the old Busch Stadium. Maybe next year I’ll make the trek to the new version – home of the 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 28th, 2006 at 1:52 pm and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Sports: It’s the Cards in 5! Woohoo!”

  1. person in the pew Says:

    October 28th, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    I went through a similar experience as you with baseball. I grew up a Cincinati Reds fan through the great years of the “Big Red Machine” with Sparky Anderson. My family used to listen to the baseball games on the radio in the car, then I’d listen to the rest of the game on the radio after I’d been put to bed. Both of my grandmothers were avid baseball fans, one until she died and the other until her memory problems prevented her from understanding the game. The strike turned me off also and with young kids I didn’t have time to watch three-hour games anyway. Somehow though I keep getting drawn back to the game. We are on the west coast now so we’ve become SF Giants and Oakland As fans and attend a few games each summer. I want my kids to understand and love baseball, and they are getting there! With Tony La Russa being a SF Bay Area resident I was rooting for the the St. Louis Cardinals — I’m glad they won the World Series but I’m a little down today because there is no more baseball until next spring!

  2. Grumpy Says:

    October 30th, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Cheer up; pitchers and catchers report for spring training mid-February. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the Chicago Bears (and Indianapolis Colts) with Illinois basketball to look forward to.

    We central Illinois natives tend to be of mixed blood sports-wise. It’s baseball Cardinals, football Bears, and college Fighting Illini for me. But I grew up with a lot of football Cardinals, Cubs, and even a few Northwestern and Notre Dame fans.

    Sports offer a pleasant diversion and an occasional strong Christian witness. I’m glad we have ’em even with all their faults.


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