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Cardinal fandom forever

Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at 5:19 AM

I'm not a La Russa fan. And I'm not a Pujols' fan.

I'm a St. Louis Cardinal fan...short for fanatic.

I was born that way, dating back to the 1940s when Stan "The Man" Musial brought class and clout to the fabled Cardinals.

I knew early on that the Whittles were diehard Cards' fan when management swapped tough-hard-nosed outfielder Enos Slaughter away that cold 1950s' winter. That was the year the Whittles angrily-declared, and cursedly-decreed: "We'll never listen to another St. Louis Cardinals' game on Sikeston's KSIM Radio Station again!"

And we didn't...that is until the next spring training game down in some mystical land called Florida, where they played something called "Grapefruit league baseball."

Throw back the clock...make that throw back the "Bootheel crops" to 1953...a dangerously wet crop-growing year when excessive rainfall threatened Bootheel farmers' profit margins.

Being a dedicated hard-working sunrise-to-sundown farm woman, it took neighbors A.J. Neel, Biddy Moore and Johnny "Bunce" Scott to convince Mother she needed to take a break from the fields and go attend a weekend series of Cardinal baseball games in St. Louis.

As weather conditions would have it, it continued raining "cats and dogs" that weekend in the Bootheel, but the weather was clear enough in St. Louis, the Cards got in a "Sunday double-header."

As fate would have it, Stan (that Man) Musial chose that day to hit not one, not two, not three, not four, but a whopping FIVE HOMERUNS.

My late mother never attended another Cardinal game: "Ain't no point. I saw the best. No one will ever top Stan the Man's accomplishment..."

And the Whittles' Cardinal fandom continues on into the next generation and another glorious October of playoff games...go Cards.



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Retired recently as world-traveled newspaperman, career made possible by late Superintendent of Schools Robert L. Rasche, about to have Bootheel life book published by SEMO State University. Loved farm life, but knew at five years old, didn't want to be a "cotton picker" when I grew up.