Pictures from the past in St. Louis sports…
Saturday September 30th 2023

A legend visits Busch

October 20th, 1963…the only time the Green Bay Packers and their legendary coach Vince Lombardi paid a visit to Busch Stadium at Grand and Dodier in the 1960’s. And they made it count, defeating a pretty solid Cardinal’s team (9-5 that year under Wally Lemm) by the score of 30-7. Here the Cardinal’s Bobby Joe Conrad heads for the end zone for the team’s only TD after hauling in a pass from quarterback Charley Johnson….the only game I ever saw in person till 1974…it was a birthday gift from my dad…………

Got ’em covered…left and right!

In 1962, both righthander Bob Gibson and lefty Ray Sadecki were part of the Cardinal’s 5-man rotation…both in the early stages of their careers…and both giving the Card’s a pretty good shot at victory each time they toed the rubber…….

Let the games begin….

I was lucky enough to be on hand the day this photo was taken at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis at the end of the Hawks training camp in late September 1964…Bob Pettit’s last year as a St. Louis sports icon and the first full year for Ritchie Guerin as player-coach….some pretty decent NBA talent in this photo and yes, of course, I got an autograph from each and every one after the bulbs stopped flashing!

“Big Z”

The Hawks Zelmo Beaty outduels the Warriors Rudy LaRusso and Nate Thurmond for a rebound in the 1968 NBA playoffs at Kiel, a 111-103 St. Louis win to tie the opening round at a game apiece. Zelmo finished with a game high and career high of 46 points that night, but the cocky and careless Hawks lost the opening round to San Francisco 4 games to 2, sending the Western Division Champions home from a series they were projected to win easily and that was that. One month later, Hawk’s owner Ben Kerner announced the team had been sold to a group in Atlanta and would be heading there to begin the 1968-69 NBA season. The end of an era!

Stan swings away…..

Musial was a crowd pleaser wherever he played….looks like it was probably a full house for this game on a St. Louis summer afternoon in 1961………

The last day….before and after!

Stan’s last game was at Busch Stadium on Sunday, September 29th, 1963….here he strikes a pose with Kenny Boyer…and one for the many photographers both local and from around the country who came to see Baseball’s Perfect Warrior. Stan went 2 for 3, drove in a run and went out with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Cincinnati Reds…two singles past a diving Red’s second baseman named Pete Rose….they were destined to meet later down the line……..

On deck and waiting……….

Stan the Man on deck at the reopening of the Polo Grounds to the expansion New York Mets on April 11, 1962…Opening Day for both teams…and a great day for Musial. Stan went 3 for 3, hit a double, scored a run and was a standout in the Cardinal’s 11-4 win. Check the stands along right field…only 16 thousand showed up for a new team and to revisit a stadium that had been closed down for 4 years. Then again, maybe a hint of things to come…the Mets lost a record 120 games that year.

They do it MY way

Trading in his players uniform for a full time coach’s coat and tie, Hawk’s icon Ritchie Guerin barks out orders from the bench in February of 1968, a year he guided the team to a 56-26 record and was named NBA Coach of the Year. It was awards like that, and a stellar playing career that saw Guerin enshrined in the NBA Hall of Fame in 2013. Well deserved!!

El Birdos in 1968

Having won the World Series the previous year, the St. Louis Cardinals were primed to win another NL pennant and hopefully a World Title in 1968 when this photo graced the cover of Sports Illustrated late in the season. Maris in his final year, Shannon and Maxvill homegrown products and well, you could only feature one pitcher in the shot….anyone on that roster, or in baseball as a whole, better than Bob Gibson?

Stan the Man…still the man!

Less than 10 days from the end of a 22 year career as a Redbird, Stan Musial singles against the great Sandy Koufax for one of only 4 Cardinal hits in a 4-0 loss to the Dodgers on September 17, 1963….remember that crucial series? The Dodgers came to St. Louis only a game ahead of the Cards with 10 to play, but swept all 3 games to all but insure the NL pennant…the previous night, Musial had hit the 475th and final home of his career against Johnny Podres, a shot to the right field pavilion roof…I was lucky enough to have been there!

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