(From Nov. 14, 1985)
“Who are you rooting for, Mom?”
The World Series was about to start, and that was a good question. Who would it be, the Cardinals or the Royals?
I grew up 90 miles south of Kansas City. We called it “K.C.” or simply “the City.” We went there a couple of times a year to do our major shopping. Kansas City was a part of my life, and I felt a loyalty to it.
K.C. didn’t have a major league baseball team in those days. If it had, I would have been a loyal supporter. When they did, in later years, acquire the Royals, I swore allegiance to them.
When at the age of 14, I moved to St. Louis, I discovered the world of the “Gashouse Gang.” Frankie (Flash) Frisch, Leo (the Lip) Durocher, Rogers Hornsby (The Rojak), Enos “Country” Slaughter, “Sunny Jim” Bottomley, “Ace” Jimmy Wilson, Dizzy and Paul Dean (“Leave it to me and Paul”), and John “Pepper” Martin, “The Wild Horse of the Osage.”
Also Jimmy “Rip” Collins, Ernie Orsatti, Jack Rothrock and Bill DeLancey. The team was managed by Branch Rickey and owned by Sam Breadon.
St. Louis loved its Cardinals and supported them enthusiastically. The city had an American League team, too, the St. Louis Browns, but the Cardinals were the favorites, by far.
When the Cardinals won a National League Pennant, the town went wild. Half the populace crowded into street cars to ride downtown and join the celebration. The frenzied mob sang and cheered and shouted far into the night.
When the Cards won the Series, the bedlam was doubled. The fans were not to be contained. They celebrated all night long. I was hooked by baseball fever. I’ve never recovered.
So now my two favorite teams faced each other in a World Series. It was an all-Missouri series and I am a native Missouri girl. During the playoffs, I rooted for the Royals against the Toronto Blue Jays, and was delighted when the Royals won the American League Pennant.
I supported the Cardinals just as strongly in their bid for the National League Pennant against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was just as happy when the Cards won.
For whom would I root? Memories of the Gashouse Gang and my girlhood in St. Louis influenced me in favor of the Cardinals. I felt sure they would win.
I watched each game with excitement. I was surprised when the Royals tied it up, but still confident that the Cards would win.
That last game. What a disaster! The Cards blew it 13-0. They weren’t the winners. The Kansas City Royals were the world’s champions.
Oh well, I had always felt kindly toward the Royals. I had rooted for them through the American League playoffs. If the Cardinals couldn’t have it, the Royals were next best.
But those mighty Cardinals sure struck out!