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Party like it’s 1989

February 19, 2012

Happy advent, Cardinal faithful!

The season of preparation and anticipation is upon us, and as we look with hope toward the Redbirds’ future, I’m having some fun looking into their past this morning. Buried in my desk, I found a stack of photos from the trips I took with my parents to the Cardinals’ Spring Training camp in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1988 and 1989, when I was just shy of my fourteenth and fifteenth birthdays, respectively.

My memories of the journeys are spotty but sacred: Games in the sunshine at Al Lang Stadium (admission was four dollars); autographs exchanged for shouts of encouragement along the fences afterward; parking-lot handshakes and happenstance elevator rides with my favorite players at odd hours of the day; hot dogs from Al Lang’s famous singing vendor for lunch and seafood at the Fourth Street Shrimp Store for dinner (I was still three years away from going vegetarian); walks along the beach, so rare and wonderful to my landlocked self, at sunset.

It was perfect.

Though my 23-year-old photos aren’t great, I’ve enjoyed flipping through them today, and perhaps you will as well:

 

Vince Coleman, Steve Lake, Willie McGee, and Ozzie Smith, with Curt Ford stepping into the cage. Lake's presence marks this as 1988, when the Cards were reeling after the departure of slugging first baseman Jack Clark to free agency. Sound familiar? As we all know, the 1988 Cards went on to win the World Series in dominant fashion. Hooray for happy endings!

 

John Morris(?), Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, and Tom Brunansky(?) with Ozzie's son, known then as O.J. and now as Nikko. Speaking of which, what were the odds that two teammates---Smith and Joe Magrane---would have had kids who went on to compete on "American Idol"? I think the singing hot-dog vendor was involved somehow.

 

Al Hairbosky---oops! Hrabosky---interviews Terry Pendleton, who, along with The Wizard, would go on to win a 1989 Gold Glove.

 

At left, Tom Pagnozzi; at right, Dave Ricketts. Who's Ricketts talking to? I can't tell.

 

I don't recognize the reporter, but I'll never forget those eyeglasses! Tony Pena was one in a series of Cardinal catchers I adored. Including our current one, who really needs to remain a Cardinal forever.

 

Pendleton hits a sharp grounder against the Blue Jays. Efforts to identify the Toronto catcher have proved unsuccessful; whoever he was, he didn't make their roster that year.

 

Hrabosky and Coleman. Vince had an off-year in 1989, stealing only 65 bases---or eight more than the entire 2011 Cardinals team.

 

Thanks for the memories, guys.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 19, 2012 12:54 pm

    Those pictures are great! I particularly love the last one.

    I’m just burning to know, though, if on those happenstance rides you always had to push your own elevator buttons….

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