By David G. Firestone
As I discussed last week, I went to St. Louis for a few days, and I spent time at the Budweiser Brewery Experience on one of my days. The second attraction I attended was the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Musceum.
While its existence dates back to the original Busch Stadium days, the current St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 2014, in St. Louis Ballpark Village. It houses 15,000 artifacts, of which only a handful are on display at any given moment. These artifacts give a look into the history and players of the St. Louis Cardinals.
When you walk in, the first thing you see is the Hall of Fame plaques. All 37 members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame have plaques here. The next thing you see is a display with the three 2017 inductees, Pepper Martin, Tim McCarver, and Mark McGwire. Near the elevator, there is a sign showing where Busch stadium was located, and where you are in the stadium, specifically, behind second base. Upon entering the museum, you see a list of the various professional baseball teams in St. Louis, and where in the city they were located, a Sportsman Park banner, and straw hats suspended from the ceiling. The museum starts with the founding of the team in 1882, and there is a display with a number of items, including uniform items. The history moves to 1926, where the Cardinals won their first World Series, and wore special WORLD CHAMPIONS jerseys in 1927.The Cardinals would go on to win 5 pennants in 8 years, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931, and 1934. The y would win the World Series in 1931 and 1934. This display features some of the artifacts from this era.The Cardinals won the 1942, 1944, and 1946 World Series, and this display represents those wins.The late 1940’s saw Harry Carry used as the Cardinals radio announcer, and while the team had some success, they weren’t able to score another World Series Championship until 1964. This display houses some of the artifacts from this era.There is a large model of Sportsman’s Park near this display, which housed the Cardinals from 1920 until 1966.The 1934 St. Louis Cardinals were known as the Gas House Gang because of their rough tactics. This display pays homage to them.The next display is devoted to the greatest player the St. Louis Cardinals ever had, Stan “The Man” Musial. This display features uniforms and trophies earned by Musial, including one of his Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Awards. His last major award was the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded in 2011 by Barack Obama. The Cardinals are credited with creating the “Knothole Gang” which was designed to give tickets to underprivileged children in 1917. Though the idea dates back to the 1880’s. The team sold stock, and for every $50 in stock($1,064.06 in today’s money) a seat was set aside for a child. This would lead to a group of devoted fans, as this display shows.St. Louis has hosted a number of All-Star Games, and this display shows a series of artifacts from these games.In 1944, the Cardinals played what came to be known as the “Trolley Series”, “Streetcar Series”, or the “St. Louis Showdown.” It was a World Series against the St. Louis Browns. The Cardinals would win the series 4 games to 2, in what was the last World Series featuring two teams from the same city that isn’t New York. This display features a series of artifacts, both Cardinals and Browns from that Series.The next area is the World Series section, which houses various items from the Cardinals World Series Championships. These include a championship ring, tickets, and uniforms. The first one is devoted to the 1926 World Series.The next display is for the 1931 World Series, and the prominent feature is a 1932 Cardinals World Series sweater.The 1934 World Series display features a Leo Durocher jersey, and some awards won by players.The next display features the 1942 World Series, and has a uniform, some programs, tickets, and some other memorabilia.The 1944 World Series is represented by a jersey, pennants, tickets, programs, and a pocket watch.The 1946 Cardinals are represented here by a jersey, some other game used memorabilia, and a team signed baseball.18 years after winning the 1946 World Series, the 1964 Cardinals won the World Series, and has their own display, featuring a jersey, cap, cleats, some awards and programs.In 1967, the Cardinals won the Series, and the trophy is displayed in the team’s World Series display, along with a jersey, and some other game-worn memorabilia.In 1982, the Cardinals won the World Series wearing their powder blue pullovers. They are represented here with a jersey, World Series Trophy, a pair of cleats, and some other memorabilia.The 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals are represented by a jersey, the Commissioner’s Trophy, program, scorecard, and champagne bottle.The 2011 World Series, the Cardinal’s most recent to date, is represented by half of David Freese’s jersey, which was torn in half after game 6. Also present is the Co missioner’s trophy, a game-used bat, a score card, and other memorabilia.Not all Cardinal teams that won the pennant won the World Series, and this display is devoted to Cardinal teams that won the pennant, but not the Series. It’s a group of Memorabilia including tickets, baseballs, and a cap, among other things.The next display covers the decade from 1950 to 1960, which wasn’t a great decade. There are three jerseys, and an early batting helmet, as well as a trophy, and other game-used items.The Negro League was represented by the St. Louis Stars, and they are represented by this display, including a 1998 Stars throwback, a 1928 game-used baseball, and a suitcase.St. Louis also had the St. Louis Browns, which moved to St. Louis in 1902, after operating as the Milwaukee Brewers from the late 1800’s to 1901. The Browns played in St. Louis until 1953, when the moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. This display is devoted to the Browns, including Eddie Gaedel, a little person who played as a pinch hitter for one game under owner Bill Veeck.The next section is devoted to International baseball, primarily Japan, and the first thing you see is a World Baseball Classic Championship trophy.The first display focuses on pre-war Japanese trips by MLB players. Included is a John McGraw jersey, a Moe Berg jacket(Ironic, given that Berg was an Allied spy against the Axis during the war.), a Babe Ruth game-used bat, diaries, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia, including an Ozzie Smith game-used jersey.The next display is focused on Stan Musial’s trip to Japan in 1958. There are a lot of artifacts, including baseball programs and photos, and a number of Japanese souvenirs. A kimono worn by Lillian Musial is hung across from this display. In 1968, the Cardinals took a second baseball trip to Japan. This display features several items from that trip. Including a jacket, an umbrella, autographs, and other various items. The itineraries for the trip are located next to this display.The next part of the international pavilion is devoted to the World Baseball Classic, and features game-used baseballs, game used caps, a gold medal, a game-used base, a game used catcher’s mask, and some other memorabilia.The final display in the international pavilion is devoted to Asian players for the Cardinals, and has some jerseys, both domestic and international, game used bats and balls, and other various international objects.The next section is devoted to the first Busch Stadium era. It is bathed in blue light, and has a large vintage model of Busch Stadium, made prior to the stadium’s construction, when it was know as ” Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium” though the Civic Center part was rarely, if at all used. The first display features Cardinals items from 1966 to 1976, the first Busch Stadium decade. There are a number of uniforms, awards, hats, a bat, and a helmet and cleats, among other things. The next display is devoted to the period from 1978 to 1983, and features a number of uniforms, several awards, and other game-used memorabilia.The next display is from the Whitey Herzog era, from 1982 to 1987, and it features a number of items including jerseys, trophies, game used memorabilia, and other items.The 1998 home run record chase has its own display. In it is the home plate from Mark McGwire’s 70th home run, several jerseys, game used bats.Next to it is an early 1990’s display, which features a few uniforms, and a baseball.The next section houses an area where you can handle World Series rings and game-used bats. I had the chance to hold two World Series rings, and a Stan Musial bat, which he had broken, and repaired. The last feature of the first Busch Stadium era is devoted to the 2000’s, and includes a base, jerseys, and some other game-used memorabilia.As you exit the Busch Stadium section, there is a section of game-used bats in a display case.Next to the game-used bats is a display which features the inspiration for the Cardinals logo, which was a set of table decorations at a church function in 1921. Branch Rickey was in attendance, and he was so enamored with the designs, he asked Allie May Schmidt to make him some cardboard Cardinals, which became the design still used to this day. These are the original cardboard Cardinals, one of which is inscribed.The biggest display in the museum is a comprehensive history of the Cardinals uniforms and logos, starting at the beginning, and ending with today’s set. The next section is the Manager’s Corner, which features displays from several Cardinal managers, starting with Rogers Hornsby, and includes Billy Southwith, Eddie Stankey, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzon, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, and Mike MAtheny. These displays include uniform items, and other memorabilia. The final section is devoted to the current era, and the current stadium. It starts off with a series of items from non-baseball events at Busch Stadium II, including a soccer jersey, a soccer ball, music tour posters and passes, and a game-used football.The next display starts off the current era, with a display of uniforms, awards, and game-used memorabilia from modern era players.There is a scale model of Busch Stadium II, and behind that, there is a display featuring memorabilia from players currently playing for the Cardinals, which include jerseys, bats, caps, and other memorabilia. The final section is devoted to giveaways, which are separated into baseball cards, bobble heads, and baseballs.I did a video about the museum, and it can be viewed below:
Next week we get back to auto racing, with a couple of mechanic suits.