The Cardinals obviously have a long and rich history that deserves to be well represented within its own Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, which will be part of Ballpark Village currently under construction across from Busch Stadium.
In April, those of us in the United Cardinal Bloggers had the opportunity to hear about the plans for the Cardinals Hall of Fame (and Ballpark Village overall) from team president Bill DeWitt. And for our June project, the UCB is creating our own ideas of what we’d like to see in the Hall of Fame and Museum.
I’ve been fortunate to visit Cooperstown, N.Y., and the National Baseball Hall of Fame (and I definitely want to go back — too much to absorb in one visit) as well as the previous Cardinals Hall of Fame that was across from Busch Stadium II. Having had the chance to see what was in both of those gave me some ideas, and Tara had some as well.
Here, in no kind of order at all, are a few things we’d like to see in the new Cardinals Hall of Fame.
Audio calls of past great Cardinals moments: Often just hearing a call brings the moment back to life — “Go crazy, folks, go crazy!” So an area where you could select and listen to calls of great moments in Cardinals history from the radio broadcasts would be terrific. Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Harry Caray, even Dizzy Dean if recordings are available — the Cardinals radio broadcasting history is long and historic too, so hearing those voices would be great.
Videos: Obviously there is much that could be represented here — both from regular season and postseason games as well as other unique moments. Clips or an overview from every World Series — even something like this from the 1926 World Series — are a must, of course, and need to include the 11 winners as well as those other ones too. Video highlights of each Cardinals Hall of Famer would be good, and educational too. Even great All-Star game moments from Cardinals, like this one of Stan Musial’s walk-off winner for the National League in 1955. And final outs of no-hitters.
Then there are those unique moments in Cardinals history that it would be terrific to see — like Fernando Tatis’s two grand slams in one inning and Keith McDonald’s two homers in his first two at-bats. Or just uniquely Cardinals moments that weren’t on the playing field — Jack Buck singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley Field and his poem about 9/11, Stan Musial playing his harmonica and so much more.
Besides that, how cool would it be for there to be an area with highlights of all the Cardinals who have received MLB’s awards? Like all the MVPs, Cy Young Award winners (with a special display for Bob Gibson’s 1968 season where he was both) and Rookies of the Year.
Interactive area: What was it like to stand in the batter’s box against Bob Gibson? In this area, you’d be able to tell as you stand in at home plate, bat in hand, watch as Gibson winds up and delivers — and then duck out of the way of a fastball coming toward you. You’d also be able to know what it was like to face Dizzy Dean, Bruce Sutter and his split-finger fastball, Chris Carpenter’s curve or even Trevor Rosenthal and his 100 mph fastball.
Maybe you’d rather have the experience of being a great Cardinals hitter at the plate — so you’d like the chance to know what it was like for Mark McGwire to step in against Steve Trachsel on Sept. 8, 1998. Or to see what Ozzie Smith did on Oct. 14, 1985, when he faced Tom Niedenfuer. Or maybe you’d rather look out and see Mark Lowe on the pitcher’s mound just like David Freese did in the 11th inning on Oct. 27, 2011 — so we can see you tomorrow night.
To me, viewing actual items that belonged to players is so much better and more real than looking at a plaque. When I was on a baseball tour on the East Coast five years ago, it was certainly nice to see the tributes to Babe Ruth in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium and in the Red Sox Hall of Fame at Fenway — but it was awesome to see his actual locker and uniform in Cooperstown. Just that much more meaningful. Same with seeing Stan the Man’s locker in Cooperstown, which is pictured above. So anything and everything that is already owned by the Cardinals — as the previous Cards Hall of Fame had much from Stan and others — or can be acquired, the better. Bats, gloves, jerseys, caps, uniforms, baseballs, socks, spikes — could there really be too much?
It would be great to see all the World Series rings too, and any other kind of memorabilia from each of the World Series appearances: programs, scorecards, patches (although I’m betting those didn’t come about until later), pins, team photos, pictures of celebrations — an area devoted to each championship would be terrific. When I first became a Cardinals fan in 2000 and would go to old Busch Stadium, I loved the area around where the Stan statue was located then with the World Series flags and the plaques on the base of each flag that showed who was on the team.
Speaking of Busch II, anything from the ballpark that’s still around — seats, old scorecards, photos from the construction and demolition, uniforms of the team through the years while they were there (yes, the blue polyester) — would be great to see. And even better with items from Sportsman’s Park — especially uniforms from the years the team played there, which of course would include Stan’s entire era. And anything from new Busch, and especially the opening of the park, would be cool. This pic is a hat of Mark Mulder’s from the first game at the ballpark that’s in Cooperstown (or was five years ago — things are certainly rotated in and out of there).
And, while on the subject of Cooperstown, one very cool thing there was a display with signed baseballs from pitchers who had thrown no-hitters and perfect games. Yes, Bud Smith is in the Hall of Fame — and it would be great to have a signed ball from him and all the others who’ve thrown no-hitters represented (to go along with the video clips collection previously mentioned).
Plus anything of Stan’s would be great — whether it’s a replica of his locker like in Cooperstown, or all the memorabilia that was in the previous Hall of Fame, all would be wonderful.
With the Cardinals beginning-of-the-season starting rotation having recently appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, what about a display with all the covers that Cardinals have appeared on through the years?
Numbers: Finally, what about an exhibit for stat-crazy fans? Baseball is a sport that is run by numbers — so give us an area devoted just to that. It could include info on all the Cardinals firsts, detailed stats on all the Hall of Famers careers and best seasons plus other team-significant number or dates by category (such as ballpark info, player stats, team stats, etc.) Have an area where people could look things up, sit down and research, learn more about the stats and who the bests in Cardinals history are and more. So many possibilities …
And, really, so many possibilities overall in creating a Hall of Fame and Museum for a team like the Cardinals. If the team needs any help in deciding what to include, there are two more-than-willing volunteers right here!