Since I couldn’t go to Stan’s wake, I decided to go to the ceremony at Busch Stadium today. I rode the Metrolink train over from Illinois. In the same car with me was a young man wearing a white hooded jacket and a Cardinals knit hat. I knew where he was going. He had a rose in his hand. I wish I had thought of that. But then I thought, flowers die, but blog posts live forever.
I arrived at Busch Stadium around 10:40 AM. I found a good spot to stand across the street from Stan’s statue. I was lucky enough to stand next to a man with a pocket size TV. He told me he was at the double header that Stan had hit 5 home runs at. What a lucky guy! We watched some of the funeral on the TV.
More and more people showed up as time went on. A guy came along handing out buttons, but by the time he got to me, he still had buttons left but he said he was going to give them to kids. So I had to settle for taking a photo of one, which you will see above.
The St. Louis Fire Department hung a big U.S. Flag between two hook and ladder trucks. It was a beautiful sight.
All of the Busch Stadium ushers filed in. They stood in front on gate 3 and on the bridges above gate 3. There was a Clydesdale horse brought in. The handler brought him up behind the statue. He was a well behaved and very photogenic horse.
We knew the procession was getting close when the St. Louis Fire Department guys and the St. Louis County Police Pipes and Drums band got into place at the statue.
The funeral procession arrived around 1:45 PM (or thereabouts – I was too cold to check my watch and my phone was dead).
The family got out of the limousines to applause by the fans and proceeded to the statue. Each family member was given a rose to put into a vase at the statue.
The band played “Amazing Grace” as the family put their roses in the vases. As the family went back to the limousines, a couple of the family members patted the hearse.
The crowd spontaneously started singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and applauded the family. Several of the family members thanked the fans for being there.
As the hearse drove off, we all started saying, “Goodbye, Stan!” I cried. But I’m a woman, so I cry at funerals, weddings, sappy movies – oh, never mind. Here’s a photo of the casket in the hearse:
If you would like to see a video of the ceremony, you can go here. It was cold and a long wait, but I’m so glad I went today. As a longtime Cardinals fan, I felt it my duty and an honor to say farewell to one of the greatest Cardinals baseball players ever. So so long, Stan. Thanks for sharing your life and your career with us. You will never be forgotten.