Fan Story: A Father, A Son, a Game of Catch, and a Game 7
Thanks to Kevin W. for this wonderful story about his father and their shared love of the game
In 1982 the Cardinals advance to the Playoffs for the first time since 1968. I was nine years old and in love with baseball. My mom worked at a bank and her boss was able to get her two tickets to the NL CS and all the World Series games that postseason. I remember listening to my parents debate whether or not they could afford it. As a nine-year-old I was dying inside, come on, this is the Cardinals and it’s the playoffs! My mom and dad were not wealthy people. My dad was a carpenter and my mom a bank teller. All of their money was pulled together to pay for my sister and my schooling.
Ultimately, my parents made the wise decision and bought the tickets. Then came the delicate dance of determining who would attend what games. Obviously my mom and dad had first crack at going to games but they were going to make sure that my two sisters and I Experienced post season baseball in St. Louis. I was able to attend a NLCS game with my mom. My two sisters managed to snag World Series tickets. As excited as I was to go to the first playoff game in St. Louis since 1968, I was a petulant brat because it became clear that I may not get to go to the World Series.
Ultimately through a little begging, some luck, and faith, I drew the lucky number and was able to attend game seven with my dad—if the series went that far. Down three games to two coming back to St. Louis from Milwaukee, I did not have the highest of hopes. Game 6 was a Cardinal route that lasted into the wee hours of the morning and I stayed up to watch every pitch to make sure that there would be a game 7. I was so bleary-eyed the next morning as I headed off to fourth grade and I did not realize my dad had already gone in to work. When I arrived home from school at 3 PM, his truck was already in the driveway – – his truck was never in the driveway when I got home from school. When I walked in the door he was decked out in his best cardinal gear and had his glove in my glove and said hurry up and get changed let’s get down to the stadium early.
We arrived outside of Busch Stadium at 4 PM. The gates weren’t even open. We found a grassy area near the box office and began to play catch. Me, my dad, game 7 of the World Series and we are playing catch outside of the stadium. It was a dream come true. The game was closely contested throughout, the Cardinals broke it open to win 6 to 3 and as I jumped up and down and hugged my dad, it was awesome to think he and I had shared this tremendous moment. It still remains one of the greatest memories of my childhood.
My dad however was the ultimate dad. As the fireworks were exploring overhead he grabbed my jacket sleeve and said come on let’s go. I looked down on the field and thousands of St. Louis fans had run onto the Astroturf at Busch Stadium. I looked up at him and said, “are we rushing the field?” He looked right back at me and said “Hell no! You gotta go to school tomorrow. We need to get home”. My dad, after all, was a true Dad. When it was time to celebrate and have fun we did that. But he also knew that the alarm will go off the next day and he had to go to work and I had to go to school. That memory of that night from arriving home from school, to playing catch, To watching the Cardinals win the series, to even being told we had to leave immediately, those make the best memories I’ve had with my dad.
To this day, I have passed on my love of the St. Louis Cardinals to my children. I love to take them to games and teach them the beautiful game of baseball. But, I also balance that with knowing sometimes we have to leave to get them home and in bed because the alarm will go off and they will have to go to school and I will have to go to work.
That is why, for Father’s Day this year, I will give my 79-year-old dad for coasters with the greatest plays in St. Louis Cardinals history. Too bad, there’s not a coaster Celebrating a great play from game 7 of 1982.