Summer storms caused us to close down the mobile museum for an afternoon (lightning and our metal structures don’t mix) and I wandered the 100 feet into Ballpark Village to stay dry. The Cardinals Hall of Fame is located on the second floor of the complex and I thought, why not? It seemed like the perfect way to spend my rain delay- learning more about baseball through the eyes of one of it’s most storied teams, the St. Louis Cardinals.
The museum does charge admission, though if you buy a tour of Busch Stadium, the museum is included in that ticket. If you’re in town during the off-season or an away stint, this is a great way to get in the park and learn about the sport’s extensive history in St. Louis. Lucky for me, I met a curator and was able to tour the Hall of Fame as a guest. I was very grateful for the opportunity and ended up wishing I hadn’t picked the rain delay to go through the museum, as I rushed through it a bit not knowing when I’d be called back to work.
The Cardinals Hall of Fame is magnificent and I could’ve easily spent a few hours looking at all the memorabilia and reading the descriptions. It was a bonus to learn about the St. Louis Browns who are now known to us as the Baltimore Orioles. Looking at their uniforms, I think someone needs to call out Jim Brown for copying their style when he formed the Cleveland Browns football team. I suppose I can’t blame him, it’s sharp, and I wish the Browns didn’t ruin it with their hideous new uniforms. Ah, that is a whole new tangent we don’t need to go on in this post!
I could go on and on about the history and things I learned while walking through the museum, but it’ll ruin your experience and I can’t type it as well as the Cardinals present it, so I’ll give you some highlights. My favorite piece of memorabilia was the jersey with the World Champions patch sewed on the breast. The Cardinals are the first and only team to have such logo as MLB banned them shortly after they were debuted. Other teams (the Yankees really… sore losers ;)) complained to the league about them and from that whining, it was decided that even if you win the World Series, you can’t be too much a braggart with your uniform. You might have noticed the Kansas City Royals changing their uniform number color to gold after winning the 2015 World Series. A sneaky way to get around this rule, but hey if you win the World Series, you should be allowed to spruce yourself up a bit on game days. That patch marked the Cardinals first Championship and the dethroning of a mighty Yankees team. I do get a little bummed when my Yankees are on the losing side of cool stories, but I suppose that’s how all the other teams feel most of the time, so I’ll suck it up…
One of my other favorite experiences in the museum was a little room off to the side where you could swing legendary players bats and try on real Championship rings. I’m all about the bling and spent a long time in here marveling at how good the rings looked on my fingers. Of course, I also appreciated being able to touch the actual bats of Cardinal legends. Over the months of being on this tour I have heard about a million Stan Musial stories from visitors and what’s even more shocking, they’re all positive. I’ve never heard a single bad experience from a fan meeting Stan. That’s amazing to me and has elevated Musial from great ball player to life role model. I think I say this over and over again, but my core love of baseball comes from the applicable life lessons I learn from it. Not that I didn’t already learn to be kind to people from Jesus, but it’s always good to have that reaffirmed and by someone who was in the spotlight.
Stan Musial’s display in the museum was another highlight. His contract, medal, full uniform and other memorabilia were on another level of neat in my book. I have to admit while writing this post, I’ve spent a good half hour looking at my pictures and remembering how giddy I was while viewing it live. It’s worth the $12 admission, I promise!
My final highlight is my favorite room in the whole Hall of Fame- the room dedicated to the Cardinals 11 World Championships. They had a case devoted to each one with the uniform and highlights of the series. It’s hard to imagine a time when teams didn’t get the giant trophy and rings, but back in the day, they literally just got pennants (hence the commonly used phrase “winning the pennant”). I also got a kick out of the little media pins for each team. Again I saw the Yankees a lot in here, but in their defense, they made it to the Championship and that’s pretty good! Seeing the other half of David Freese’s jersey from the 2011 win over the Rangers was pretty cool as the tour I’m on houses the other half. I totally wished they would’ve reunited the halves because in my head it would be this wonderful holy moment when choirs sing and giant gold light shoots out as they come together. In reality, this probably wouldn’t have happened, and I would’ve been disappointed. So thank you Baseball HoF and Cardinals HoF from saving me that great sadness.
I told you I would stick to highlights, but there was so much memorabilia and I loved it so much, I felt like I needed to share another gallery of pictures from my visit. There were displays on the Negro League, the Women’s League, Bill Veeck, Eddie Gaedel. and even Joe Torre as he was inducted while we were in town.
There were also displays on how the team got their name and logo (a woman!), a progression of uniforms (the powder blue is straight fire my friends!), the old stadiums, and all sorts of other collector items. Also, there was a room where staff would go over artifacts live for fans. Like I said earlier, I could’ve spent another day in this museum- it’s phenomenal! A perfect way to spend an afternoon for Cardinals and baseball fans alike.