Baseball road trip: Louisville Slugger Museum

Now that baseball is officially over for the season, it’s time to do other things, like take a road trip.  Our family decided to take a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum. Since this is a baseball blog, I won’t talk about the Kentucky Derby Museum except to mention that it was very interesting. The museum is very well done and I learned a lot.

This was actually not my first visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum.  My son and I drove to Louisville in April 2018 to see Newsboys UNITED, since they were not playing anywhere near us. We decided to stop by the museum on our way to the hotel we were going to stay in.  We were short of time and money to take the museum tour, but we looked around at the rest of the museum and we decided that someday we would return to take the factory tour.  The Louisville Slugger Museum had a booth at the Winter Warm-Up in January, and if you signed up for their email list, you received a pass for two free factory tours.  This was our impetus to return, and I bugged my hubby all year to go until he finally caved in.  You can’t let a good deal like that expire.

We went to the Kentucky Derby Museum in the morning. We then went to lunch and made our way to the Louisville Slugger Museum, driving up 4th Street through the University of Louisville campus, then the Spaulding University campus, and finally, the beautiful old homes in Old Louisville.

The bat on the outside of the museum is so big it takes two photos to show it!

We parked at a private lot on 9th Street for only $6.00.  We arrived in time to get tickets for the 12:00 PM factory tour.  We wanted to add the bat vault tour, where you can see bats designed by legendary players, but sadly, tickets for the bat vault tour were sold out for the day.

Our tour guide’s name was Kate.  She was very knowledgeable. She mentioned at the beginning of the tour that we were not allowed to take photos or videos of the tour. The factory tour began with a movie that talked about the Hillerich & Bradsby Company (the parent company of Louisville Slugger)’s beginnings in 1884.  There is a forest in Pennsylvania where the trees grown there are used specifically for bats.  The tree selection process was discussed in the movie.

After the movie, we went into the factory. The selected trees are debarked and made into cylinders called billets. One tree can make up to 60 billets. Kate mentioned that less than 15% of these billets are made into bats for professional players.  Bats are made from ash, maple and birch wood. These woods have different qualities when they are made into bats. Some players come directly to the factory to select billets they want to be made into bats, including Christian Yelich.

The next step is to put the bat on a lathe, which smoothes out the surface. It takes 48 seconds to put a bat through the lathe. The bats have knobs at each end, called bat nubs, so they don’t move during the lathe process. The next step is to cut the bat nubs off of the bats and sand the ends.  You will see some bats with an indentation at the end and that is called the cutback.

The next step in bat production is the imprinting of the logo and names on the bats.  After that, the bats are finished, either by painting or staining the bats, and then putting a clear acrylic finish on the bat to give them a shiny finish.  There were baskets of bat nubs and we could take some nubs for a souvenir.  Phil and I both took a nub.

Our tour ended in a room with photos of players that used Louisville Sluggers.  One of the photos was of one of my all-time favorite Cardinals, Lou Brock.

Kate took questions from the tour guests at the end of the tour.  We then picked up our souvenir mini-Louisville Slugger bats.  After that, we went into the museum to look at the displays.  There were some interesting Lego sculptures, including a sculpture of one of my favorite places on earth, Busch Stadium.

Here’s a photo of a large glove, made of granite. Next to the granite glove is a batting cage, where you can pay to attempt to hit a baseball.

After we were done looking at all the displays, we went into the lobby where you can view wooden blocks with signatures of all of the players who have used Louisville Slugger bats, and these were grouped by decades. It was fun trying to find our favorite players.

We then went into the gift shop where I purchased yet another refrigerator magnet (my favorite vacation souvenir – they are inexpensive but useful) and a mouse pad.  My son bought some baseball cards, and in those packs were some lovely Cardinals baseball cards.  It was a nice end to a great tour.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum for anyone who loves baseball and who is interested in how things work.  If you would like to find out more about the museum, you can visit their website at

In other news, six Cardinals players were nominated for Gold Glove awards, but only Kolten Wong won the Gold Glove.  As you know, the fans vote for the Platinum Glove awards.  The nominees for the Platinum Glove awards are the Gold Glove winners, so you can select Kolten to win the Platinum Glove. You can vote for the Platinum Glove Award here:

That’s all for now!  Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!


#STLisLou – Help honor Lou Brock

Lou Brock is one of my favorite Cardinals of all time. Not only was he a great Cardinals player, he is a great human being as well.  The Cardinals have launched a new social media initiative to honor Lou and to raise money to help children with diabetes.  You’ll find all the details below.

Cardinals & St. Louis Civic Leaders Launch #STLisLou to Honor Lou Brock

 Season Long Social Media Campaign Celebrates Lou Brock & the City of St. Louis While Also Raising Money to Help Children with Diabetes

ST. LOUIS, April 19, 2015 –The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have teamed up with the Mayor of St. Louis and other civic leaders to launch #STLisLou, a season-long campaign to honor Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, celebrate the St. Louis community, and raise money for children with diabetes.  The Cardinals will formally honor Brock in a special #STLisLou ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Cubs.

“No person better embodies the spirit of our city or the importance of the Cardinals to St. Louis than Lou Brock,” said the Honorable Francis G. Slay, the Mayor of St. Louis.  “Lou Brock is St. Louis and St. Louis is Lou, so we hope everyone in the ‘Lou will join us in celebrating Lou all season long.”

The Cardinals are encouraging fans to show their affection for Lou Brock all season long by sharing video messages, photographs and other messages via social media using the hashtag #STLisLou.  The team is challenging fans to answer what does Lou Brock mean to you and what does he mean to St. Louis and the Cardinals?  Fans can learn more about the campaign and see what others fans are posting to social media at .

 “Lou Brock is not only one of the greatest players to play for the Cardinals, he is also one of the nicest men to have ever worn the birds on the bat,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals.  “Our fans selected Lou Brock as one of our Franchise Four, honoring him as being one of the most impactful players in Cardinals history, so we have no doubt that they will seize the opportunity to share their affection for Lou via social media this season.”

DeWitt said the team also developed #STLisLou as an opportunity to celebrate the St. Louis community.  “St. Louis is a remarkable community that is home to the best fans in all of professional sports,” said DeWitt.  “#STLisLou is not only a chance to honor one of our greatest players, but is our way to tip our caps to this great community.”

The St. Louis Cardinals partnered with Explore St. Louis and Downtown STL to develop #STLisLou and will be working with both organizations through the season to engage fans via social media with special promotions such as “Tuesday’s Are Lou’s Day – Find Lou in the Lou!”, a weekly social media based scavenger hunt around town that will reward lucky fans with tickets, exclusive #STLisLou Lou Brock autographed baseballs and other prizes.

 “It is no coincidence that our city’s nickname is the Lou,” said Brian Hall, Chief Marketing Officer, Explore St. Louis.  “Lou is St. Louis.  In many ways, he is the face of our community.  We are excited to be part of a community wide effort to honor Lou Brock while also celebrating our amazing city and helping kids in need.”

“We hope our entire community embraces #STLisLou,” said Missy Kelley, President and CEO of Downtown STL.  “St. Louis is a richly diverse community with people who care about one another and who proudly support their sports franchises in a way that is envied across the nation.”

Throughout the season, area hospitality workers and Downtown STL Community Improvement District (CID) Guides will be wearing a commemorative #STLisLou button as a show of support and chance to educate visitors about the campaign, as well as raise awareness for the #STLisLou fundraising effort to help children with diabetes.

“The team will be selling commemorative #STLisLou buttons to raise money for the special fund Cardinals Care has established in Lou’s name to help children with diabetes,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Community Relations & Executive Director of Cardinals Care. “We hope fans will join Cardinals Care and Lou Brock in the fight against diabetes by making a donation to the fund or purchasing a button.”

All proceeds from the sale of the #STLisLou button will go toward the special fund.  Fans can purchase the button for $5 at Busch Stadium in the Cardinals Team Store or in the Cardinals Authentics store, as well as at the Cardinals Authentics Store at Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village.  Fans can also purchase the buttons for $5, plus shipping & handling fees, or make a donation to the fund directly at .

The team is planning a variety of other special #STLisLou promotions throughout the season to keep the campaign fresh, including a theme ticket promotion on Monday September 12th where fans who purchase a special theme ticket will receive a commemorative bobblehead replicating the #STLisLou image of Lou Brock on a Clydesdale.  The image, which was drawn by local artist Dan Martin, is a fun homage to the iconic statue of Saint Louis on Art Hill in Forest Park which served as a symbol of the city prior to the construction of the Gateway Arch. In addition to the regular Theme ticket, there are a limited number of VIP packages available, which will include the bobblehead and a pre-game autograph session with Lou. More details can be found at  A portion of the proceeds from the regular and VIP tickets will benefit the special Cardinals Care fund.

About Lou Brock

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times. The Cardinals’ acquisition of outfielder Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs on June 15, 1964, ranks as perhaps the greatest steal in baseball history. St. Louis traded pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens in exchange for Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth.  Over the course of his career with the Cardinals, Brock established himself as the most prolific base stealer in baseball history to that time. His 938 stolen bases stood as the major league record until Rickey Henderson bettered the mark in 1991. Brock’s total remains the National League standard, and he holds the major league record with 12 seasons of 50 or more steals.

Brock led the N.L. in thefts on eight occasions (1966 to 1969 and 1971 to 1974). He set the season record with 118 in 1974, bettering the mark of 104 by Maury Wills during the 1962 campaign. In 1978, the N.L. announced that its annual stolen base leader would receive the Lou Brock Award, making Brock the first active player to have an award named after him.

But Brock was more than a base burglar. He was a career .293 batter with 3,023 hits. Seven times he batted at a .300 or better clip. In 1967, Brock slugged 21 home runs and had 76 RBI from the leadoff spot. He also had 52 stolen bases to become the first player in baseball history with 20 homers and 50 steals. The following year, Brock topped the N.L. in doubles (46), triples (14) and stolen bases (62), the first player in the Senior Circuit to do so since Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1908. Brock joined the 3,000-hit club Aug. 13, 1979, with a fourth-inning single off Dennis Lamp of the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.  Brock and Musial are the only Cardinals members of the 3000-hit club.

Brock paid immediate dividends in St. Louis, batting .348 for the balance of the 1964 season and propelling the Cardinals from eighth place in the N.L. to a World Championship over the New York Yankees. The Cardinals won the World Series again in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox and were N.L. champions in 1968. Brock was at his best in postseason play. His .391 career batting average (34-for-87) is a World Series record, while his 14 stolen bases are tied for the most all time with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox.  On the Cardinals’ career lists, Brock ranks first in stolen bases (888 – Vince Coleman is second with 549); second in games (2,289), at-bats (9,125), runs (1,427), hits (2,713), doubles (434) and total bases (3,776); fourth in triples (121); fifth in walks (681); and eighth in RBI (814). He was a six-time N.L. All-Star. Brock is second only to Musial in total hits.

 Brock has remained active in baseball since retiring as a player following the 1979 season. He worked in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth from 1981 to 1984; was a base running consultant for the Minnesota Twins in 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and Montreal Expos in 1993; and has served as a special instructor for the Cardinals (base running and outfield play) since 1995. He was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1985.  In 2015, Brock was voted by the fans as one of the teams Franchise Four, joining Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Rogers Hornsby as one of the most impactful players who best represented the history of the St. Louis Cardinals.  No one embodies the spirit of St. Louis or the importance of the Cardinals to St. Louis more than Lou Brock.

 The Cardinals Care Lou Brock Fund & Cardinals Care

 Cardinals Care, the Cardinals’ charitable foundation that supports children, has established a special fund in the name of Lou Brock to help children with diabetes.  The Lou Brock fund proceeds will support the American Diabetes Association’s Camp EDI – The Ed and Gloria Hirsch Camp for Children with Diabetes, a one-week resident summer camp held annually at the YMCA’s Trout Lodge in Potosi, Missouri.  Besides the typical camp activities, such as swimming, canoeing and arts and crafts, campers participate in daily “wellness classes” and diabetes education with members of their medical staff.  The campers learn diabetes self-management skills and the importance of counting carbohydrates, diet and exercise. They also learn to be more independent in their diabetes management while at camp. Most importantly, they are able to interact with other children who relate to the challenges of living with diabetes.

 Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field. Since it was established in 1997, Cardinals Care has distributed nearly $21 million to support St. Louis area non-profit youth organizations and built 22 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods.  2016 marks the 13th year of Cardinals Care’s innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.  Fans can team up with the Cardinals to help children in our community by donating to Cardinals Care at  Fans can donate to the Cardinals Care Lou Brock fund directly at

Thanks for reading! See you next time!


Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

extraThere was lots of news yesterday on the Cardinals front, some of it bad and some of it good. Where should I start – the bad news or the good news?  I believe it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Cardinals announced that Lance Lynn had undergone Tommy John surgery and would be out for the entire 2016 season.  Perhaps this explains all the pitching trouble that Lance had during the last few weeks of the season and during the NLDS.

Without Lynn, the 2016 lineup looks like this:  Wainwright, Wacha, Lackey (if signed), Martinez, and Garcia.  But what happens if one of these pitchers is injured?   Alex Reyes would not be able to be brought up from the minors for a while, since he will be serving a 40 game suspension (10 games’ suspension will be for fall league games) in the because marijuana was detected in his drug test. Tyler Lyons showed grit and determination in his starts last season and it earned him a place on the postseason roster.  I would like to see him get another chance to pitch in the majors next season.  If any of the starting rotation pitchers are injured, Lyons should be the first one to be called up.

Fellow blogger Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM) asked on Twitter and Facebook whether Trevor Rosenthal could be converted to a starter.  I replied that Rosey almost gives me a heart attack pitching in the ninth inning.  My poor heart couldn’t handle him being a starter.

Lynn’s surgery really throws a monkey wrench in the Cards’ offseason plans. Any hopes of letting Lackey go or trading Garcia are out of the question now.  I would like to see the Cards resign Lackey at the very least, even if only for a one year contract.

In other bad news, fan favorite Lou Brock had surgery yesterday to amputate his leg below the knee due to complications from an infection related to diabetes.  How ironic that the Cards’ best base stealer ever had to have part of one of his legs amputated.  I wish you Godspeed and quick healing, Lou, and I hope we will see you walk on the Busch Stadium infield with the rest of the Hall of Fame members on Opening Day 2016. Lan

Now for the good news – yes, there is some.  Yesterday evening, both Yadier Molina and Jason Heyward won Gold Gloves.  It was Yadi’s eighth Gold Glove in a row and Jason’s second. Both players are well deserving of their awards.  But the Cards should have negotiated to resign Heyward before the Gold Gloves were given out – Heyward’s asking price has just gone up.

Cards manager Mike Matheny was nominated for the Manager of the Year award yesterday.  In other years, Mike would be a shoo-in for this award for leading the team to 100 wins with all the injuries and the Oscar Tavares tragedy.  However, the other nominees are Joe Maddon and Terry Collins.  Maddon led the Cubs to their first NLCS since 2003 and Collins led the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000.  I predict Maddon will win the MOY award.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cardinals’ farm system and you’re in the St. Louis area, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for a special exhibit on the history of the Cardinals’ farm system.  Here’s some more information:

On Saturday, November 21, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit entitled “Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” which celebrates the rich history of the franchise’s minor league system. This display, which replaces last year’s special exhibition “Stan Musial: ‘The Man’ Off the Field,” will be previewed Friday, November 20, during an exclusive ticketed event with General Manager John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals developed baseball’s first successful farm system based on Branch Rickey’s concept in the early 1920s and few ideas have had a more dramatic impact on the game,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We take great pride in our farm system and the impact our homegrown players have had on our franchise history; we’re looking forward to sharing those stories with our fans.”   

“Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” features over 100 artifacts which bring to life the rich history of the franchise’s farm system from the 1920s through today. Exhibit highlights include Branch Rickey’s 1919 road jersey worn while managing the Cardinals; George Kissell’s hand-written pocket-sized coaching manual – the genesis for the club’s organizational guidelines that are still in use today (on loan from the Kissell family); a game-worn barnstorming jersey from Jim Bottomley, the first superstar from the farm system; Dave Duncan’s pitching chart of rookie hurler Bud Smith’s no-hitter in 2001; top prospect Oscar Taveras’ Carlos Martinez-model bat used during the 2014 season; an original eight-foot-by-five-foot banner featuring the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada farm team that flew over Sportsman’s Park circa 1954; and much more.

A limited number of tickets remain for the exclusive exhibit preview on Friday, November 20. With the purchase of a $60 ticket ($50 for museum members), fans receive a private, after-hours first look at the exhibit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Cardinals Museum, a farm-to-table dinner buffet and drinks in the Hall of Fame Club at Cardinals Nation, and an after-dinner Q&A session with General Manager John Mozeliak and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. For more information or to purchase event tickets, fans can visit

The Cardinals Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the offseason. The special exhibit, which is open to the public from November 21, through the conclusion of the 2016 baseball season, is free with the cost of museum admission. To purchase Cardinals Museum tickets or learn more about museum membership, visit    

Thanks for reading and see you next time!


2015 Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremony notes

2015-08-15 02.01.04My 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.

Jon Hamm

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.

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Dan then introduced each Hall of Famer individually.  Here’s some photos of the Hall of Famers:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  2015-08-15 02.39.36

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.

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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.

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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.

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Then Bruce Sutter stepped up to the microphone and told great stories of rooming with Bob, and other stories.

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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.

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Last year’s fan inductees, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds, assisted Ted in putting on his Hall of Fame red jacket.

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Ted looking dapper in his new red jacket:

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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.

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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!