Most St. Louis Cardinals fans have taken in a game or two at Busch Stadium, have seen highlights of a young Ozzie Smith, and enjoyed Matt Carpenter’s salsa-induced hot streak in 2018. But only real fans have visited “Trinket City,” know the origin of the Redbird logo, or understand the significance of the number 1.12. In this revised and updated edition of 100 Things Cardinals Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, author Derrick Goold collects every essential piece of Cardinals knowledge and trivia, as well as must-do activities, and ranks them all from 1 to 100, providing an entertaining, enlightening, and easy-to-follow checklist as you progress on your way to fan superstardom.
About the Author
Derrick Goold is an award-winning reporter and baseball writer who has covered the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 2004. He has been a finalist for the Associated Press Sports Editors’ top beat writer in any sport multiple times and has won the award twice. A past president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, he contributes to Baseball America and MLB Network and hosts the Best Podcast in Baseball. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. A three-time All-Star, Adam Wainwright has pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals since 2005. He resides in St. Louis, Missouri.
Read an Excerpt
Meet Me at Musial
For generations of fans, the crossroads of Cardinals Nation was Walnut Street and Broadway in downtown St. Louis, signified not by the concrete monolith of a stadium in the background but by a 10'-tall statue that stood as their cultural epicenter. The bronzed batter became the traditional meeting point for the devoted. Many trips to Busch Stadium for a baseball game started with the universally understood invitation: "Meet me at the Musial statue."
A statue of Stan Musial has stood sentry outside the Cardinals' home ballpark for parts of six decades. Far more than a totem to the team's best and most-revered player, it is a landmark, the magnetic north of Cardinals Nation by which almost all visits to the ballpark are oriented. Engraved into it are words Cardinals fans can readily recite, like the opening stanza of a beloved nursery rhyme for the red-dressed masses:
Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight.
The words are from former baseball commissioner Ford Frick, said when Musial retired from the game. Musial's last day in cleats was the inspiration for the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America to raise money for the gift of a statue to place outside the ballpark. The "Perfect Knight" statue was unveiled in 1968, and even then it was a polarizing depiction of the Hall of Famer. It was abstract, showing a broad-shouldered, narrow-waist, wispy-legged Musial tucked into his trademark batting stance. The face was too angular to be true to Musial's. Fans and media groused. Musial hoped the original plan, which included an autograph-seeking kid, would be used to soften a potentially pretentious tribute. Sculptor Carl Mose favored the interpretive take on the Cardinals great.
While acceptance of the statue's aesthetics differs, its location has long been embraced as a beacon for far-flung fans and locals alike.
And it's the fans who make the monument.
"The fans are what makes St. Louis," longtime Houston Astros star Craig Biggio once said. "The fans are still going to be here. Yankee Stadium is its own entity. Fenway Park is. Wrigley Field is. But St. Louis is known for its fans."
The Cardinals were the first major league team west of the Mississippi River, and for much of the 20th century they were the furthest team south as well. That gave them access to draw from an unprecedented expanse of America. The reach of the club's flagship radio station, clear-channel KMOX/1120 AM, helped amplify the interest, taking Cardinals baseball well beyond their time zone. The Cardinals' roots are so deep in some areas that even decades after rapid expansion and cable television obliterated baseball's geographic boundaries, the club had radio affiliates in eight states. A Harris Poll taken in 2007 revealed the Cardinals as the fourth-most popular team in the country, trailing only popularity powers New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves. But the Cardinals were easily the most beloved team in the Midwest and the overall favorite of the 18- to 29-year-olds age group.
"They love to see the team win, but they have this history here in St. Louis, they have a way of celebrating baseball," said Scott Rolen, a onetime Cardinals third baseman. "They love coming to the ballpark. It's a family affair still, and they come here to watch baseball. They really have a lot of respect for the game and they believe that this is their team."
The depth of the franchise's history and the breadth of the franchise's reach made the bronze Musial an obvious and fitting place for an informal town square to develop. It is a destination point for pilgrimages from across Cardinals Nation. No journey to the ballpark is complete without seeing "baseball's perfect knight," because when you come to watch the Cardinals, the same is true now as it was when he played — Musial shows the way.
"I first put on a major league uniform in September 1941 and before I ever took a swing I knew I wasn't just putting on a jersey with two birds and a bat," Musial wrote in 2009 for the foreword to the first edition of this book. "I was wearing a tradition. I was accepting a responsibility. Putting on the St. Louis Cardinals uniform meant a player is accepting the expectations of history."CHAPTER 2
2B ... Inducted into Hall of Fame, 1989 ...Number retired, 1996
The man who would spend more time in a Cardinals' major league uniform than anyone else, Red Schoendienst, started his Hall of Fame career by answering a want ad in the paper. In 1942 Schoendienst, a Germantown, Illinois, native, and a buddy picked up a newspaper that carried an announcement: the National League ballclub in St. Louis — some 55 miles away — was holding open tryouts at Sportsman's Park. Come one. Come all. Bring a glove. "It's probably the only ad I ever read," Schoendienst grinned more than six decades later while still wearing the Birds on the Bat.
Schoendienst and his pal hitchhiked to St. Louis to take part in the tryout — not necessarily because they thought they had a chance, but because they would get to stick around for the game that followed. Albert Fred Schoendienst, country-boy thin, red hair, and freckles, thrilled scouts with his agility around the horn and with a bat. He didn't have to hitch home — the Cardinals gave him a ride so that they could sign him. After 19 years, 141/2 of which were spent playing for the Cardinals, Schoendienst retired with 2,449 hits, two top-five finishes in MVP voting, and two World Series rings, one with the Cardinals. He went on to be the organization's winningest manager for the latter half of the 20 century.
The Cardinals got much more than they advertised for. "We played mostly baseball as kids, a lot of ragball, and when we saw that ad, we thought, Let's try it out," Schoendienst said. "I just wanted to see about it, see if I could play. I guess they saw something in me."
It took Schoendienst a couple seasons in the Cardinals' expansive minor league to surface in the majors in 1945, and he did so as the fill-in for Stan Musial, who was serving in the military. That season Schoendienst hit .278, was second on the team with 89 runs. The next summer, with Musial back in the lineup, Schoendienst began his migration around the infield before settling at second, where he would ultimately merit induction into Cooperstown. Schoendienst led his position in fielding percentage seven years, four times as a Cardinal. In 1949 he set records for consecutive games and consecutive chances at second without an error. In 1950 he broke both records. Nine of his 10 All-Star appearances came as a Cardinal, and in 1953 he finished second in the batting-title race with a career-best .342. He led the NL with 26 stolen bases as a rookie. He was 22. Five years later, at 27, he led the league in doubles with 43. At the same time Hank Aaron and Ted Williams led the two leagues in homers, Schoendienst led the majors with 200 hits. He was 34. Peers called him a "mirror hitter" because his swing was the same from the left side of the plate and the right. Never a power hitter, Schoendienst nevertheless had a three-day, extra-base binge for the ages. In June 1948 he ripped eight doubles and one home run to set a league high for doubles and extra-base hits. "Besides Jackie Robinson, for 10 or 15 years there, Red was the best second baseman in the league," Musial, the man who batted behind Schoendienst and roomed with the redhead, once said.
More than 50 years after Schoendienst retired, former teammate Aaron watched the 2016 World Series and saw flickers from the past. In the Chicago Cubs' fleet-footed, agile, and swift-tagging infielder Javier Baez, the Home Run King had flashbacks of Red. Aaron said "the only person I think could have made [those] plays was Red Schoendienst with the Cardinals." Author Bill James referred to Schoendienst as "flawless" at second base, and Hall of Fame writer Jim Murray wrote an ode to Schoendienst's fielding for Sports Illustrated. Murray pried loose words loose from ballet's lexicon to capture the "fielding like a genius." Schoendienst was 37 when Murray awed.
The Cardinals' great did it through injuries and illnesses that would have deterred or derailed others. Schoendienst caught a wire staple in the left eye as a teenager and played with double vision for years. A shoulder injury in the minors slowly sapped his arm strength, and for two years in the 1950s, Schoendienst played with tuberculosis. He was with Milwaukee at the time of the diagnosis and had just hit .300 in the '58 World Series for the Braves. He spent more than 100 days in the hospital and had a chunk of his lung removed. He returned to the Cardinals in 1961 as a part-time player and put the finishing touches on a .289 career average.
But not the finishing touches on a career.
Schoendienst's second act with the Cardinals was as successful as his first. Named as manager in 1965, his first season was spent defending a World Series title. Within three years he had won his own. The affable, quick-to-grin Schoendienst had the ideal temperament to pilot one of the highest-priced rosters in the majors. He deftly integrated Yankees great Roger Maris into the lineup, eased Mike Shannon into the infield, and knew never to take Bob Gibson out in the middle of an inning. Schoendienst shepherded the Cardinals to the title in 1967 and the pennant in 1968. Including two good-soldier turns as an interim skipper for the club, Schoendienst went 1,041–955 as manager, a total-wins record that stood until Tony La Russa snapped it in 2007. La Russa threatened to vacate the job to avoid breaking Schoendienst's record. The Ol' Redhead just had La Russa promise to share a toast that night after it was broken.
"I make sure I don't get in anybody's way," he said one sunny day during batting practice. "I mean, what would you do if they let you be around the big leagues every day? The Cardinals gave me an opportunity to play. I'm trying to give what I can back. Being around this is what keeps your lights burning."
Schoendienst wore the Cardinals jersey to work longer than anyone — ever. Sixty-seven of the team's first 127 seasons had Schoendienst involved on some capacity. In June 2018, as the Cardinals played through a homestand, Schoendienst asked his grandson to take him for a drive. They went to a spot, outside of St. Louis, where Schoendienst enjoyed hunting. The oldest living Hall of Famer drank two Budweisers, his grandson told the Post- Dispatch, and said, "Let's go home." He died the next day at 95. A memorial of hats, flowers, baseball cards, and candles sprouted at his statue at Busch Stadium and more than 1,200 people attended his memorial.
Throughout the celebration of his life, Schoendienst was referred to as "old Redbird" and "Mr. Cardinal," though he was much more than both of those. He was the Cardinals' constant.
If Musial is the face of the Cardinals, Gibson the fire, and coach George Kissell the sage, then Schoendienst is the soul. "It's probably cliché, but Red is a link to multiple championship generations that we've had," team president Bill DeWitt III said. "He played in the '40s. He managed in the '60s, was still around in the 1980s [in] a supporting role. And then I know Tony totally embraced him when he came In the mid-1990s ...Red was that instant credibility. If you're hanging out with Red, you're hanging out with the St. Louis Cardinals and all of that history."CHAPTER 3
Attend Opening Day in St. Louis
Around Major League Baseball each spring, there are 29 Opening Days and one experience. It is a civic spectacle that starts with Clydesdales.
Opening Day at Busch Stadium is unlike any other in baseball. It is a signature event for the Cardinals, one that is designed to sew together the debut of the current team and the rich tapestry of the franchise's past. Longtime Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and several transplanted players have said that a ballplayer has only been to an Opening Day until he has been to St. Louis for the Opening Day. "What stands out is the execution of everything and the fan reaction to everything," La Russa said. "It becomes this tremendous blend of the year you're playing and the past, all rolling out onto the field at the same time."
The annual concert of Clydesdales, Corvettes, and Cardinals is the brainchild of the late Marty Hendin. In the late 1970s Hendin wanted to reinvigorate a fan base by reviving the successful past. Hendin said he wanted to "find a way to take the tradition, all that energy and success, and the fact that each year may be a different team but the same franchise and bring it all together." He invited players — all sorts of them, from fan favorites to Hall of Famers to just Cardinals — for a homecoming. He organized a parade, with the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales leading the way each year and pulling the iconic beer wagon, complete with Dalmatian. The right- field gates at the past two Busch Stadiums were specially modified to allow for the Clydesdales to reach the warning track for the annual lap. The cars carrying the current Cardinals and Hall of Famers follow behind.
Organist Ernie Hays had to stretch and ready his fingers for the parade because it can last as long as 35 to 40 minutes and he had to play "Here Comes the King" continuously. Hays, who died in 2012, only had himself to blame for the tune's popularity. Born on New Year's Day 1935 in nearby University City, Missouri, Hays paid a $1 a lesson to learn piano as a boy, and he followed the organ he played at a St. Louis store to Busch Stadium II, where it was being installed. In 1971 he sat down to play with a few instructions: "rah rah" for the home team, "raspberries" for the visitors, and not a peep about the umpires. He would later adopt a rule of his own: "I don't do any Top 40." Hays specialized on "clap chants," crowd-pleasing, foot-stomping that stir a silent ballpark. He auditioned dozens of "clap chants," including many TV theme songs he set to new beats, but none moved the crowd quite like the one he borrowed from professional indoor soccer. That's where he first tickled the keys with Budweiser's theme, "Here Comes the King," and in the late 1970s, he brought it to the ballpark. The song has defined St. Louis and Opening Day ever since, and for a long time it even replaced the traditional "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. Hays' song is now new organist Dwayne Hilton's inheritance, along with the calisthenics and flexibility required to survive playing the song over and over as Cardinals players, past and present, unload from their cars. Shortly before his death, Hays hesitated to calculate how often he had to traipse though the 32 bars of the anthem. "I play and I play and I play until my hands feel like they're about to fall off with the next note," he said, "and then I play some more."
On the field is only a slice of the spectacle. Throughout the region, fans who cannot avoid or ditch work for the day wear red, and the color is universal around the city. Those who can get away gravitate downtown, where even those without a ticket mill around the ballpark just to be near the epicenter of the first tremor from a new season. It is a civic event. Hendin said his Opening Day eventually became an organism all its own, spreading out from the ballpark but also expanding from year to year within the ballpark. For the final year of Busch Stadium II, Hendin plotted "the greatest Opening Day we've ever had." He had players from four decades of Cardinals history, and he said he felt chills as he saw the Hall of Famers and the oldest of Cardinals "slapping hands with the newest of Cardinals."
"You don't really know what to expect until you've seen it yourself," said shortstop David Eckstein, whose first Opening Day as a Cardinal was the last Opening Day at Busch II. "The red. The fans. The Clydesdales. It's definitely an experience, an experience every player has to see to understand what Opening Day really can be."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "100 Things Cardinals Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die"
Copyright © 2019 Derrick Goold.
Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Adam Wainwright xi
1 Meet Me at Musial 1
2 Red Schoendienst 4
3 Attend Opening Day in St. Louis 9
4 Cy Young and the Birth of the Cardinals 11
5 King Albert 14
6 Stan "the Man" Musial 19
7 Yadier Molina and the Night Shea Went Silent 25
8 Organization Men 30
9 Enos Slaughter 36
10 See the Cardinals' Treasures 39
11 "The Greatest Comeback Team in the History of Baseball" 41
12 The Hidden Championship 45
13 Ozzie Smith 48
14 Ken Boyer 52
15 The Knothole Gang 54
16 As Window Closes, the Core Delivers 56
17 Dizzy Dean 61
18 "It's Gotta Be the Salsa" 64
19 The Origin of the Red bird Logo 68
20 Lou Brock 70
21 The Pioneer Who Covered Center 74
22 Toss a Scat Cushion, Twice 77
23 The Voice of the Cardinals 79
24 "Go Crazy, Folks!" 83
25 Rogers Hornsby 84
26 Old Pete and the "Final Crisis" 88
27 Visit Sportsman's Park 91
28 Visit Robison Field 94
29 The Architect of the Cardinals 97
30 Rickey's Farm System: The Seeds of Championships 99
31 A Dash of Pepper 101
32 Visit Trinket City 104
33 The Gas House Gang 107
34 Deans Ignite Gas House Gang 110
35 Pepper Martin: The Wild Horse of the Osage 113
36 The Mississippi Mudcats 115
37 Joe "Ducky" Medwick 118
38 The "Kidnapping" of Flint Rhem 122
39 Bruce Sutter 124
40 The Little General 127
41 El Líder 128
42 The Daring, Underdog Debut of the Swifties 133
43 Roomies and Rivals at Lindell Towers 137
44 The Streetcar Series 138
45 Bob Gibson 141
46 One Last, Mad Dash 145
47 Gold Standard 151
48 A Rain Check on Musial's Crown 153
49 Meet Butch Yatkeman 155
50 Uncle Charlie 156
51 Wonderful Willie 161
52 Police Action at Sportsman's 164
53 The Owners 165
54 Tom Alston; The Trailblazer 170
55 Frankie Frisch: The "Pilot Light" 172
56 "Hollywood's" Blockbusters in the Clutch 174
57 The Tragedies 179
58 Visit Spring Training 184
59 "Sunny Jim" Bottomley's Brightest Day 187
60 The Keeper of the Cardinal Way 189
61 Stan Musial Society 192
62 Mike Shannon: Native Son and Iconic Voice 195
63 The 50,000-Watt Blowtorch 198
64 "A Commitment to Heart" 199
65 Jaster Zeroes In on the Dodgers 206
66 The All-Star Games 208
67 Putting "Lonborg and Champagne" on Ice 213
68 Gibby's 17-k October 217
69 Too Grand: Tatis' Big Inning 221
70 The Big Mac Attack 223
71 Mini-Mac's Three Big Whacks 228
72 Double Dose of Dean 230
73 Two True Cards 232
74 Bake's Early-Morning Run 236
75 Musial's Accidental 3,000th Hit 238
76 The Great Rivalry and Its Greatest Game 239
77 Visit Double A Springfield Cardinals 243
78 Visit Triple A Memphis Redbirds 246
79 Meet Fredbird 248
80 The White Rat: Whitey Herzog 252
81 Steal Home with Glenn Brummer 256
82 Whiteyball Runs Away with Title 258
83 No-No Doubting Forsch 261
84 Clark Clinches in the Clutch 264
85 The Call 266
86 Laga Has Left the Building 269
87 The Secret Weapon 273
88 The Train Rescue of 1911 274
89 The Big Numbers: Rogers Hornsby's .424 276
90 The Big Numbers: Bob Gibson's 1.12 277
91 The Big Numbers: Steve Carlton's 19 279
92 The Big Numbers: Lou Brock's 118 282
93 Hard-Hittin' Mark Whiten 283
94 One Pitch, Four Steals 286
95 Musial's Dynamic Doubleheader 288
96 La Russa Leaves on Top 290
97 Rick Ankiel's Second Act 296
98 A Stay of Execution 298
99 Farewell to Busch 300
100 Welcome Home 305
Selected Bibliography 311