1949 St. Louis Cardinals

I saw a bunch of Facebook postings saying that today was opening day for the St. Louis Cardinals. That got me digging in the back of my sock drawer for a souvenir bat and pennant Dad gave me when we went to a ball game.

I didn’t even notice that he had put my name on it in his distinctive handwriting until the scan was compete. It was just luck that the name side was down.

1949 Cardinals souvenir program

This program was stuck inside the scrapbook my folks made of my early years. It’s possible that the bat dates back to this game, but I don’t know that for sure.

Cardinal Program Chicago lineup

Not being an avid baseball fan, particularly when I was two years old, I don’t recognize the Chicago players. Click on the image to make it larger. I scanned it at a little higher resolution than usual so you can read all the type.

St. Louis Cardinals lineup

HERE are names I grew up hearing. I shot a picture of Red Schoendiest at the Spring Training Opener this year. How could any kid in SE Missouri NOT know Stan the Man?

You have to snack at a ball game

It doesn’t say how much these snacks cost in 1949, but two hot dogs and two bottles of water set me back 20 bucks at the spring training opener.

Birthday bat, ball and cap

I’m guessing this is my sixth or 7th birthday. I’m holding a bat, softball and wearing a St. Louis Cardinals cap in front of my grandparents’ home in Advance. It’s obvious from my body language that these are alien tools.

Actually, I spent many hours playing pitch and catch with Dad in the backyard or just throwing the ball up in the air to play catch with myself. I never got good enough to be picked first, but, at least, I wasn’t always picked last when it was time to grab the end of the bat to chose up teams.

Dad impressed upon me that you always hold the bat with the label up to keep from cracking it. Unfortunately, one of my classmates either didn’t know or didn’t remember that when he grabbed my bat and stepped to the plate. I’ll never forget the sound of my birthday bat breaking. I was devastated.

Son Adam was the baseball player

Son Adam was the ballplayer of the family. When he was about 12, he was a catcher who could nail a runner at second from his knees. Everybody learned not to steal on him. The only problem was that he couldn’t hit. He could only bunt. But, boy, could he ever bunt. The other teams KNEW he was going to bunt, but he’d always lay one down in the hole.

He hates for me to tell this story, but what good are kids if you can’t embarrass them?

The pitchers must have left their arms at home one night, because they quickly gave up walk after walk and hit after hit. Coach cycled through every player on the team until he came to Adam. Now, you’d think that a catcher who can hit second dead on should be able to put a pitch across the plate, right?

“The NEXT one would have been a strike”

Wrong. Not only could he not hit the plate, he couldn’t hit the backstop. Finally, with his mother and me sinking lower and lower in the stands – “Gee, I wonder who that kid is who’s pitching?” – the coach finally walked out to the mound and demanded the ball.

Adam walked off the field, kicking dirt all the way to the dugout.

“What’s the matter, kid?” I asked. “You were stinking the place up. Why are you mad about being yanked?”

“The NEXT one would have been a strike,” he said.

And, that’s why he’s become a good businessman. When he doesn’t get the deal or something goes wrong, he always thinks, “The NEXT one is going to be a strike.”


7 Replies to “1949 St. Louis Cardinals”

  1. Ken;
    Your sovenirs are from that era. The first three Cardinals in your program in the lineup, Diering, Schoendienst and Musial are still living. I saw two of them, Musial and Schoendienst at the Cardinal Home Opener yesterday. Mr Diering, I saw at the Cardinals Winter Warmup. The fourth living person, Joe Garagiola lives in Arizona. I imagine he will be at the Diamondbacks home opener.

    This was my 26th Cardinal Home Opener since 1984. I have attended most of them with my Son. I missed one in 2001, which was the day of my father’s funeral. Today my Father would have been 91 years old. I thought a lot of Dad yesterday, Home Openers do that.

  2. Opening days make me think of my Grandmother McKeown who was a huge Baltimore Orioles fan–Baltimore being the city of my birth.

  3. There is something about baseball…as youth my dad used to take me as many Cardinal games as we could. Wit hhighway 61 only two lanes the trip as an event, not teh two hour trip it is today. Thanks to my Dad I saw everyone who was anybody in the 50’s & 60’s in the National league. Willie Mays, Ken Boyer, Stan the Man (MY favorite) Robin Roberts, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinsion, Harvey Haddix, Elroy Face. Plus all the Cardinal greats of the era, Lindy McDaniel and his brother Von, Wally Moon, Bill Cunnigham, Julian Javier, BILL WHITE, Dick Groat…you add more Orlando Cepeda…Curt Flood..BOB Gibson, Lou Brock…and etc.
    Now days I take my dad to the games at least two a year. Last year we attended the one day in te new stadium and it was great. We missed this year, but we are planning to go later in the summer…maybe see the Astro’s or the Red’s in July.
    The genations seem to disappear when you are talking baseball and that is a very good thing.

  4. Thanks for the memories again. I have good memories of my grandmother who grew up in St. Louis, listening to Cardinals baseball games on the radio every night as she went to bed @ 7:00.

  5. I like that story about your son. Good character trait. I think I missed this post when it first came out due to visiting my daughter in Ireland at the time. They don’t cover baseball very well over there.

    My youngest was one of those kids in t-ball who would get distracted by a butterfly or bend down to look at an insect on the ground while a fly ball went over his head. But I like to think that’s what I do with some of my photos — get distracted by objects close up and lose track of the bigger picture.

    And on those programs, can someone explain the logic behind the ground rule that says, “Ball hitting bench near home dugout that photographers use; in play”

  6. What can I say; the 1949 St. Louis Cardinals were truly the gems of the Golden Years of Baseball. You bet that Chuck Diering is alive and well…

    Chuck Diering of the 1949 St. Louis Cardinals will be appearing at McGhee’s Miniatures on Nov 19, 2011 from 11am – 4pm! Decked out in his full uniform Mr. Diering will be giving autographs, and telling stories of the Golden Years of Baseball.

    Mr. Diering wills also ne showcases 4 beautiful dollhouses that he tediously hand crafted for his late beloved wife. Those houses, with a special plaque bearing Chuck’s autograph, and the year he built the house will be for sale.

    The whole day is planned around a celebration of baseball, the 40’s & 50’s, the cardinals, scale models, and fun for everyone! The event is free, as are the stories and autographs.

    Come and meet a true legend, one of St. Louis’ finest to ever play the great game of baseball!

    McGhee’s Miniatures is located at 104 Crestwood Court, inside Crestwood Mall, across from Sears.

    Questions: 314 497-6140 (Barbara)

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