My son and I attended the 2015 Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremony yesterday. The ceremony took place inside Fox Sports Midwest Live! at Ballpark Village. Since the doors opened at 11 AM, I told my son that we needed to get there when the doors opened to get a good place to sit. He didn’t think I knew what I was talking about until we got there and we had to share a table because the place was packed. Mom does know best, doesn’t she? A shout out to my new friends Bill (who came all the way from Iowa), Calvin and Chad – thanks for sharing the table with us and thanks for the great conversation! Whenever you meet fellow Cardinals fans, it’s like meeting new family members for the first time. You always have something to talk about!
I ran into Lindsey Weber of the Cardinals communications department. I know her from the blogger events. I told her that someone from the United Cardinals Bloggers had to represent at this important event. She was busy putting out fires, but she came back later and we spoke at length. I told her that I just had to be there because I had plugged Ted Simmons on my blog for the fans to vote into the Hall.
Before the ceremony, Frank Cusumano of KSDK interviewed Jon Hamm of TV’s Mad Men, who grew up with Ted Simmons’s son.
Dan McLaughlin of Fox Sports Midwest was the master of ceremonies. The ceremony started with the late Stan Musial playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on the video screen.
Dan then introduced each Hall of Famer individually. Here’s some photos of the Hall of Famers:
The only Hall of Famer not present was Tony LaRussa, who was in Japan for a previously scheduled engagement that he could not get out of. Dan read a statement from Tony sending his regrets.
Then this year’s inductees walked on to the stage and were introduced. Here are some photos:
Dan then introduced Bill DeWitt, Jr., Bill DeWitt, III and John Mozeliak of the front office. The DeWitts spoke about the Hall of Fame and the Museum.
Before every candidate’s induction, there was a video clip of the candidate. Mr. DeWitt, Jr. then read the inscription on that person’s plaque, and the candidate’s representative(s) or Ted Simmons was introduced.
The first inductee was George Kissell, the long-time minor league instructor who influenced Cardinals players for generations. George passed away in 2008 due to an automobile accident, so his son, Dr. Richard Kissell, accepted the honor on his behalf. Dr. Kissell spoke about George’s influence on the Cardinals he worked with. He mentioned that George was a devout Catholic that went to Mass every morning, and that he knew where the closest Catholic church was to every ballpark.
Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon then came to the microphone to speak about George. Mike was so emotional when he started speaking that he had to stop for a moment to regain his composure. After he recovered, Mike regaled the crowd with stories about George.
The next inductee was Curt Flood. Curt passed away from cancer in 1997. His representatives were his wife Judy Pace Flood and his daughter Shelly Flood.The inscription on Curt’s plaque described his challenge to the reserve clause Shelly spoke first. I found it interesting that she read her speech from her cell phone.
Curt’s widow Judy Flood spoke next. She was very articulate and well-spoken. I discovered when I read the Wikipedia page on Curt Flood that Judy was an actress. No wonder she was a great speaker! She entertained the crowd and thanked the fans. She said that now Curt had been welcomed back to St. Louis.
Lou Brock then came to the podium to speak about his memories of Curt. Lou mentioned that when other fielders tried to catch a ball like Curt, they would break their wrists. Lou shared other stories about Curt.
The next inductee was Bob Forsch. Bob passed away in November 2011 from an aneurysm, a week after throwing out the first pitch at game 7 of the 2011 World Series. Bob was represented by his daughters Kristen and Amy. Amy was the speaker. She spoke about how Bob loved playing in St. Louis and how pleased he would be that the fans voted him into the Hall, since he loved the fans so much.
Then Bruce Sutter stepped up to the microphone and told great stories of rooming with Bob, and other stories.
Then last, but not least, it was Ted Simmons’s turn to be inducted. The video clip started playing and the tears started streaming down my face. I remember watching Ted play in the 1970’s when I first became a Cardinals fan. He was my favorite player. I remember watching him run the bases with his long black hair blowing in the wind. (Long hair was cool back then, you know.) It was like reliving my childhood and I wished my dad had been there, but he passed away in 1980.
The audience gave Ted a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium. Ted saluted the crowd.
Last year’s fan inductees, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds, assisted Ted in putting on his Hall of Fame red jacket.
Ted looking dapper in his new red jacket:
Then Ted got up to the podium and spoke for about a half hour. He thanked the coaches and managers that helped him along the way. He spoke about his time in St. Louis and thanked all the fans for their support. He mentioned that he had toured the Hall of Fame Museum and it was a great walk along memory lane.
After Ted’s speech, Dan McLaughlin came back up to the podium to close out the ceremony. All the Hall of Famers left the stage and the ceremony was over.
I was so thankful to be able to attend the induction ceremony. I had a great time (thanks for buying us lunch, Phillip!). I look forward to seeing who will be inducted next year. If you get the opportunity to attend the induction ceremony next year, you should really attend. This ceremony was magical. The Cardinals have such a rich history and they honor the history the right way, with the Hall of Fame Museum, the Hall of Fame inductees and the various theme nights remembering World Series wins.
You can watch the induction ceremony on Fox Sports Midwest at 5 PM CST on Monday, August 17, so set up your DVR’s to watch the ceremony at your convenience.
Thanks as always reading! See you next time!