Tagged: lou brock

Cardinals HOF Inductees on Cardinals Museum

Base-Stealing Legend, Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

Base-Stealing Legend, Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

The St. Louis Cardinals fans have a lot to be proud of. A Championship-calibre team, a thriving baseball city, Hall-of-Fame alumni like Lou Brock & Ozzie Smith, and now, a world-class facility called Ballpark Village, which features a series of bars and restaurants, new seating decks in left field (across the street from Busch Stadium), and a new Cardinals Hall-of-Fame and Museum. In a recent series of interviews, I connected with Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Chris Carpenter, and Museum Designer Kelly Giles. You can listen to my review of the facility, the weekend, and some clips from the aforementioned interviews here.

You can check out more pics from Ballpark Village and the stadium in a recent blog post, here.

Kelly Giles , graphic designer from PGAV Destinations planned and designed the Museum, you can learn more about them here.

Ozzie Smith on Twitter: @STLWizard

Cardinals 2014 Home Opener & Ballpark Museum Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Busch Stadium at Night

Busch Stadium at Night

Listen to my interviews with Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Chris Carpenter, and Cards Museum designer Kelly Giles.

I rode the metro link from my hotel and got off right at the foot of the stadium. It was the night before the Cardinals home opener, as well as the official ribbon cutting for Ballpark Village’s Museum and Cardinals Hall of Fame. There’s something special about a baseball stadium at night. It could be the stories it holds. It could also be the excitement in the air, and the anticipation of another potentially successful season for the baseball-crazed city.

Cards fans camp out in hopes of getting home opener tickets.

Cards fans camp out in hopes of getting home opener tickets.

I took some time to admire the bronze statue of Stan Musial, then continued my walk and stopped to check out more statues honouring Cardinal greats, some of whom I would be interviewing the following day.

Stan The Man

Stan The Man

The Greatest Cardinal Ever.

The Greatest Cardinal Ever.

Cardinals Greats

Cardinals Greats

Upon approaching Ballpark Village, I heard a familiar voice. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball was being broadcast on the giant outdoor screen, so of course it was Dan Shulman I was hearing. Dan was a guest on my show last year, you can listen to that here. What a terrific spot to watch ball games, especially when the weather is nice!

Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village

There was a brief press conference the following morning, and the official ribbon cutting for the museum. After being the first official group to tour the museum (along with the inductees), I had the opportunity to interview Tony La Russa, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith. I made friends with a local photographer, Robert Rohe, who was kind enough to snap these great shots for me.

Interviewing 2014 HOF Inductee Tony La Russa. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

Interviewing 2014 HOF Inductee Tony La Russa. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

Base-Stealing Legend, Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

Base-Stealing Legend, Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock. Pic via Robert Rohe, rrohe.com

I even managed to grab former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, and Cardinals 2006 & 2011 World Series Champ Chris Carpenter for an interview. Following my interview, he bravely ventured downstairs and through a sea of Cardinals fans. Can you spot him? It’s like playing a giant game of “Where’s Waldo”.

Cardinals Ballpark Village has one of the largest TV's I've ever seen!

Cardinals Ballpark Village has one of the largest TV’s I’ve ever seen!

Despite the steady rain that had been falling all day, the Cardinals home opener commenced. The “Cardinals Nation” boasts a strong following of some pretty serious fans. In St. Louis, baseball is #1. After what I witnessed, I would say it’s really a culture. Cards fans take their baseball seriously. One group of young fans I made friends with snapped this great shot for me from a balcony in Ballpark Village. You can see what a terrific view you get of the field from across the street.

Pic via Christina

Pic via Christina

Overall, I would have to put Busch Stadium & Ballpark Village toward the top of my list of “must-see” baseball destinations. Regardless of whether or not you are a Cardinals fan, touring through the museum and Cards Hall of Fame is a real treat, and you can grab a frosty beverage from any number of happening spots to watch the game live, or on any number of ridiculously large televisions.

Cardinals Ballpark Village

Those seats under the “Cardinals Nation” sign are in Ballpark Village across the street!

To learn more about Busch Stadium and the hot spots to visit in St. Louis, Alicia from Ballparksonabudget.com did a review of Busch Stadium in 2012.

Also, my good friend Malcolm from Theballparkguide.com has plans to visit Busch Stadium in the future. Malcolm was a guest on my show recently, you can listen to that here.

Jackie Robinson Day – More Than Just The Colour Barrier

Kadir Nelson's "Safe At Home" painting featuring Jackie Robinson hangs proudly inside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Kadir Nelson’s “Safe At Home” painting featuring Jackie Robinson hangs proudly inside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

On April 15th every year we celebrate Jackie Robinson day. Jackie was a pioneer of the civil rights movement, as a result of breaking major league baseball’s colour barrier in 1947. To say that Jackie was an incredible baseball player, is just listing one of his many significant accomplishments, as his brave actions paved the way for other civil rights activists, where Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. followed suit years later. Worthy to note is that Jackie was really just one of many talented ball players who made sacrifices far greater than most of us have experienced, and endured racism and hatred far worse than what most of us can even fathom. Several weeks ago I did an interview with the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Bob Kendrick, which you can listen to here. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Bob recently and he took me on a tour through the museum:

Jackie Robinson with Branch Rickey signing his Major League Contract

Jackie Robinson with Branch Rickey signing his Major League Contract

John “Buck” O’Neil, was the first black coach in the Major Leagues, and discovered the eventual Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock, signing him to his first big-league contract. In a press conference for the Negro Leagues Baseball “Hall Of Game” Ceremony on April 12th, 2014, Lou said jokingly that, “Buck thought he was my father”. Truth be told, Buck was a father figure to many, especially Brock, as well as another Hall of Fame player, Ernie Banks. He was also instrumental in signing Toronto Blue Jays World Series hero, Joe Carter.

Buck O'Neil with his young stars, Ernie Banks (left) & Lou Brock (right)

Buck O’Neil with his young stars, Ernie Banks (left) & Lou Brock (right)

If it weren’t for Jackie making the sacrifices he did, when he did, who knows how different the history books might have been. It’s possible we could be much further behind in both baseball and human civil rights.

Some of the greatest ball players to have ever played the game had reached the end of their careers before major league baseball started signing black and Hispanic players. Bob Kendrick stated that Buck always used to say, “the Negro Leagues Museum represents the men who built the bridge over the chasm of prejudice in our country”. Indeed then, it was Jackie Robinson, and many others following him who would be the ones to cross over that bridge.

What Is The Hall of Game?

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City

Click here to listen to my interview with Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick.

It happened before Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, in 1963.  It happened before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, in 1955. It was in 1947 that Jackie Robinson broke the major league colour barrier, when he played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was this single event that is said to have been the catalyst of the modern-day civil rights movement, paving the way for Parks, King, and many other great civil rights activists.

So who paved the way for Jackie Robinson?

It is hard to say that just one person was responsible for laying the foundation. Surely there are far too many to mention. In 1920 the Negro Baseball Leagues were formed, led by Rube Foster, owner and manager of the Chicago American Giants. One player/manager named Buck O’Neil was indeed instrumental in the development of players and talent, and eventually the formation of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Buck, Jackie, and too many others to mention are celebrated in the Museum, and I discussed the history of the leagues and formation of the museum with the President, Bob Kendrick in an interview you can listen to here.

On April 12th, 2014 the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is launching an annual awards gala called the Hall of Game, to honour former Major League Baseball greats who exhibited the same passion, determination and swagger that the heroes of the Negro Leagues did. James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant will be recognized at the gala, receiving the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award, and the inaugural class will also include Joe Morgan, Lou Brock, the late, great Roberto Clemente, and Dave Winfield. Surely Toronto fans remember Winfield’s heroic two-run double in the 11th inning of the 6th game in the 1992 World Series.

Buck O’Neil & Dave Winfield

As a result of the kindness of many contributing to my indiegogo campaign for the book I am writing, I can say that I am fortunate and excited to be attending the Hall of Game ceremony in Kansas City in several weeks to cover the event and conduct interviews. I look forward to visiting this world-class establishment, expanding my baseball history knowledge, and sharing the stories of legends with all of you. The Hall of Game awards event and gala is April 12th, 2014, and you can learn more about the event here and purchase tickets directly here.

Follow the Negro Leagues Museum President, Bob Kendrick on twitter: @nlbmprez