Monday, April 7, 2014


I've never been a big baseball fan, or any sports fan for that mater, but I can appreciate the tradition of the game and I've always thought I might have been a fan if I'd been born about 30 years earlier.  There's something about the early players that seems lost to the current generation.  Maybe I'm romanticizing a bit, but the players of the 50's and 60's seemed almost magical, setting record after record and maybe none more famous than the battle of '61 when New York Yankees teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle fought for the home run record held by Babe Ruth.  Maris won by hitting his 61st home run in the final game of the regular season.

In 1961, baseball was being played by the St. Louis Cardinals at the old Sportsman's Park.  And though Stan Musial was nearing the end of his 23 year career (missing the 1945 season and part of the 1946 season while serving in the Navy), he was still the star of the team and worshipped by the fans in St. Louis.

Juxtaposing Musial was a new up and coming pitcher named Ray Sadecki.  After having won the Cardinals' Rookie of the Year for 1960, he was now a full-time starter and held much promise.

Among the 8mm films I bought at the estate sale in St. Louis Hills last fall, I found footage of the 1961 Baseball Cardinals at Sportman's Park.  Titled simply "1961 Stan Musial and Ray Sadecki" it features Stan (#6) and Ray (#37) warming up for a game.  In addition, you see other players milling about the field including #32 Ernie Broglio whose unfortunate footnote is being traded by the Cardinals for Lou Brock in 1964.  Later in the film, the game begins and you see Musial hit a triple.

In honor of the home opener here in St. Louis (although it looks like a rain-out), I offer the the 1961 St. Louis Cardinals.

This second film appears to be from another game.  I'm not sure who the Cardinals are playing here.  Maybe someone out there recognizes the other team.  The highlight of the reel is the footage of Sportsmen's Park and a home run by Stan Musial.  Also seen is the Anheuser-Busch neon eagle.  It now resides on Highway 40/61 in downtown St. Louis, still lighting the night and greeting visitors to St. Louis.

In one scene with Musial, you see a few other players standing behind the batting cage.  A couple uniform number, 21 and 10, are attributed to Curt Flood and Alex Grammas, while two others, 5 and 22 are a mystery as I can find no information on these numbers being used by the Cardinals in 1961.

Although he went on to pitch in the Cardinal-winning World Series of 1964, Ray Sadecki was a disappointment for the team and was eventually traded to the New York Giants in 1966.

In 1968, Stan Musial was inducted into the Baseball Hall of fame and in 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Just last month, he was honored with a bridge in St. Louis.  The so-called Stan "the Span" opened February 9th, 2014.


  1. #22 was worn by John Glenn, Gary Kolb and Leon Wagner in 1960, and by Doug Clemens and Gary Kolb in 1962. Maybe #5 was a coach or manager who was involved with batting practice?

    1. Thanks for the info, Graham. Your thoughts on #5 agree with other people I've spoken with.


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