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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Ozzie Smith Talks Stan Musial, Life as a HOFer, Pepsi Max Game

Posted Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 8:01 PM

St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith has been around the game for years.

He's seen players, managers and even owners come and go. He's seen rule changes, the PED era and even instant replay.

As a Cardinal, he's also seen history--not just the history of the game, but of the organization.

In a Wednesday interview, Smith shared his thoughts on several of those things.

On Stan Musial

"Stan was everybody's friend," Smith said after a brief hesitation, noting that if he had to sum up Stan the Man in one sentence that would be it.

The 14-time Gold Glove winner said that he most admired the value Musial put on his fans. Of all the things he learned from Musial, Smith said that was what really stuck with him.

"If people only have one chance to meet you, I want that experience to be a good one," Smith said. "Evidently, that's exactly the way it was with Stan."

"People that had a chance to meet him realized what a warming, caring person that he was. He took time for everybody"

Smith said he believed Musial to be one of the most special and humble human beings that he'd ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Musial passed away at his home in Ladue on Jan. 19, 2013.

With a bit of a laugh as he remembered his friend, Smith said Musial was always smiling because he knew he was going to get at least three hits a day.

"He was a very special person and one of the few people in life that you can say you didn't hear a bad word spoken about," he said. "He was just a humble human being who loved life and loved the game."

On wearing the red jacket

While it isn't the same with Musial, who he characterized as "the greatest one," gone, Ozzie Smith said that the opportunity to put on the red jacket and step onto the field each year is something very special to him.

"When I was growing up, talking about guys like (Bob) Gibson, Musial and (Red) Schoendienst, it was always 'those guys,' he said. " I never looked at myself as one of 'those guys.'"

Still to this day, he said he has trouble feeling like one of those guys. Regardless of whether he believes it, he is definitely part of that very elite group.

Smith said walking out onto the field in the company of other Cardinals' Hall of Famers is a "great, great feeling" and not just because of the cheers.

"We're one of few fortunate organizations who have a lot of living Hall of Famers who always take part in especially the opening day ceremonies," he said. "They are people that you can touch, feel and see. That's very, very important I think for the people and for the history of this franchise."

With a laugh, he added that he hoped they would all be around "for a long, long time to come."

Pepsi Max Field of Dreams Game

Given that he is slated to take to the field in the Pepsi Max Field of Dreams game on May 18 in Rochester, New York, Smith has

On May 18, the Wizard will take to the field one more time, but not in St. Louis.

Hi-res-112303662_crop_exact Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

This time he won't just be smiling for the cameras with fellow Hall of Famers, he will be playing an actual game with them in Rochester, New York as part of the Pepsi Max Field of Dreams game.

Smith, along with the others, was selected by fans as part of the promotion. This will be his second year participating in the game.

Does that mean we won't be seeing any back flips from the Wizard?

"Not intentionally," he said with a big laugh. "It will give fans the chance to see some of us play one more time and watch how we've aged. We do things a little bit slower these days."

The MLB greats taking the field representing the American League include: Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Pedro Martinez and Frank Thomas; while the National League team will include: Johnny Bench, Trevor Hoffman, Fred McGriff, Mike Schmidt and Ozzie Smith.

"The one thing that we miss the most is the camaraderie," Smith said. "This gives us a chance to get out there and reminisce about those good old days."

Last year, Rochester, N.Y. resident Johnny Perotti and Washington, D.C. resident Stephen Katchmark were selected as the consumer winners in the second year of the Pepsi MAX MLB Field of Dreams promotion and now have the chance to play a baseball game with some of their all-time favorite players. During the hometown voting competition, Perotti edged out Katchmark to bring the game to Rochester.

As the home team, Perotti and five of his friends will join the AL MLB legends to take on Katchmark, his five friends and the NL MLB legends.

Tickets for the Pepsi MAX MLB Field of Dreams Game remain available. For details on how to purchase tickets, visit www.mlb.com/pepsimax. All tickets are General Admission.

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Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. His work is featured in numerous publications, as well as both regional and national websites. Contact him at cnoles@dailystatesman.com or on Twitter @coreynoles.


Comments
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Meanwhile, Joe Kelly continues to suck!

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 9:32 PM

Could have killed Betancourt with that ball to the face.

-- Posted by Corey Noles on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 9:41 PM

Awesome, they change out one sucky pitcher for another sucky pitcher. Boggs stinks. Next time I see him again I will vomit.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 9:44 PM

What on earth happened to Mitchel Boggs? He is clueless on the mound this year.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 9:45 PM

Boggs has an option left. I expect to see it exercised in the next 48 hours. Gast is several days removed from his last start now. The timing is better than it was when they brought up Maness. I would say expect it soon.

If not, I recommend dramamine or phenergan. lol

-- Posted by Corey Noles on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 10:02 PM

I hope they do something. His war over -1. Surely there is someone (Gast) in the minors who can replace that.

And Kelly is just as bad. Our middle relief makes me have a nervous breakdown every game.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 10:16 PM

BTW, great article Corey. I always love reading about the Wizard and all of the HoFers. I love Cards history. I just had to vent.

-- Posted by Jolly Dump on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 10:19 PM

Thanks for the kind words Jolly! I did three stories from my Ozzie interview on Wednesday. Two are posted so far. The third is done but wont post until tomorrow. It's with Ozzie talking about Jeter's injury. It's really quite interesting to hear him talk about coming back from injury as an aging player.

-- Posted by Corey Noles on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 10:37 PM


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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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