In my initial blog I talked about one of the references to the name ‘Born Bleeding’. This was that I have been a St. Louis Cardinals (1) fan all of my life and I know I was born bleeding Cardinals red. I do remember not being a Cardinals fan growing up so I can honestly say I have been a fan my whole life.
I would like to thank my Grandpa, Charles Niedringhaus, for really getting me into Cardinals baseball. After my parents divorced when I was around 5, my Grandpa was the main male influence in my life. I distinctly remember sitting on the back porch of my Grandparents house listening to KMOX with Jack Buck and Mike Shannon calling the games so beautifully. Lou Brock was in the final years of his career and Brock A Pop was all the rage at the store to drink. Ken Reitz and Keith Hernandez were Cardinals stars.
I remember the baseball strike in 1981 being unfair to the Cardinals as we would have had the best record if they would of not split the season in half. This got me excited for 1982. I can recall the Cardinals having both Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers on the team for a few days that winter. I can still see Willie McGee jumping up over the fence to rob a home run in the World Series against the Brewers. I also remember my mom letting me stay up to watch the game that went on to midnight. ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang (2) was the Cardinals song that year. When Bruce Sutter and Darrell Porter hugged on the field at Busch Stadium, there was much rejoicing in St. Louis. I still have my Coca-cola bottle.
Somewhere in 1983 or 1984 my church took a group of us to a baseball game when the Cardinals were really bad. Everybody wanted to leave early because the Cardinals were losing to the Mets by a big score. I told my Grandpa I wanted to stay to the end because we couldn’t afford to see a lot of games in person. Everyone was waiting on the old church bus as we walked to it right after the game was over.
1985 brought back excitement. Names like Vince Coleman and Todd Worrell were emerging. ‘The Heat is On’ by Glenn Fry was used as the Cardinals theme song and there might not be a better moment in Cardinals history than Ozzie Smith’s NLCS Game 6 Home Run off of Tom Niedenfuer. I still get chills to this day when I see the video and hear Jack Buck say ‘Go Crazy,Folks, Go Crazy’. Let’s not get into the World Series and Don Denkinger. I have mostly moved on.
In 1986, the New York Mets became Pond Scum. And in 1987, the Cardinals made another run to the World Series. Stupid Homer Hankies and home field advantage cost the Cardinals that World Series to the Minnesota Twins.
The Cardinals were good and the Cardinals were bad when I was growing up. I remember the good times fonder but I remember them all. I have since met some of the legends of my youth such as Bob Forsch, Ken Reitz, Tito Landrum and Lou Brock thanks to some of my work with Cardinals Care and Redbirds Rookies. (4) These former Cardinals are all legends to me and many others in the St. Louis community.
I am proud to be a Cardinals fan and will not hide the fact that I am. This franchise embodies the true ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ and is really hard to explain to someone who wasn’t raised here. I have just scratched the surface on my experience and I hope you can understand a bit about being a real Cardinals Baseball fan is all about.