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UCB Project: Cardinal Dinner Party

Posted on August 29, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Filed Under: Baseball | United Cardinal Bloggers
EDIT: After I posted this, I noted that the last portion (including my fourth member) had been cut off.  Find the rest after the jump....

For this installment of the United Cardinal Bloggers, we are taking a break from the on-the-field stuff to deal with one of those traditional hypothetical questions that get asked at ice breakers and job interviews.

“If you could invite any four people to a dinner party, who would it be and why?”

Obviously, being that this is a UCB project, we are putting a Cardinal twist on it, in that the four people must be tied to the St. Louis franchise, be it as a player, a manager, a general manager, a broadcaster or whatever.

Check out other participating blogs to see how similar—and, likely, how different—we are.  Rockin' the Red, Cardinal Nation Globe, BertFlex and Redbird Ramblings have posted theirs. (Fungoes is up now as well!)

Narrowing it down to just four people is a difficult proposition.  The Cardinals have such a rich history that there are numerous selections that could be made.

When considering my four, I tried to consider both my favorite players and personalities from my knowledge of Cardinals past plus how rich the baseball discussion would be.  With that in mind, let’s go around the table.

First off, I’ll go current and select Albert Pujols.  Not only is Pujols one of my favorite players, but I think being able to ask him questions about hitting, his thought process, how he goes about things would be fascinating.  Stan Musial was a great hitter as well, but I don’t know if he put the thought into hitting that Albert does.  It may be Musial’s natural humility, but his most famous quote on hitting is “Wait for a strike and hit the [expletive] out of it.”  Besides, Pujols would probably have numerous stories about the current and recent band of Cardinals.  And you’d have to ask him about the time he took the bat out of John Rodriguez’s hands, basically saying he wasn’t going to need it.

I think it would be fascinating to listen to Pujols talk to another one of the guests, Bob Gibson.  To hear the best pitcher in the franchise’s history talk to one of the best hitters, talking about how they approached their craft, would be astounding.  To find out what he was thinking during those World Series games, how he finished an inning with a broken leg, and, of course, talking about 1968 would be awesome.  And, if the food takes too long to arrive, who better to do some intimidation for some good service?

Who better to have around a table telling stories, though, than the legendary voice of Jack Buck.  He could talk about working with Harry Carey, seeing numerous World Series teams, or just how he did follow what Mike Shannon was talking about.  And what would be better than hearing, after he’s tasted his food, “That’s a winner!”

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The final spot at the table is a tough call.  You could put Musial there, to add another hitter to the discussion.  Imagine Pujols and him exchanging thoughts and tips.  You could bring in Dizzy Dean for storytelling flair, though of course you’d have to decide which ones were actually true.  One of my all-time favorites, Ozzie Smith, could talk about the 1980s and where the backflip came from.  Getting into the mind of a manager, whether Tony LaRussa or Whitey Herzog, could be fascinating, especially if a specific game or instance could be asked about.  Having a GM at the table, someone like Walt Jocketty or Bing Devine could bring a different perspective to the baseball discussion.

But I think, in the grand tradition of using a utility man, I’m going to bring in Red Schoendiest for my final spot.  No one has been in a Cardinal uniform longer.  No one has filled as many roles.  He could talk about playing with Musial or managing the Redbirds.  He’s been a coach and he’s seen over 60 years of Cardinal baseball.  There’s little that Red hasn’t done for the Cardinals.  He could even talk about being traded, of how it was to play against the Birds on the Bat after wearing it for so long.

There are so many others that have a connection to St. Louis that could be considered, from Branch Rickey to Jim Edmonds to Harry Carey, even, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.  But if you’d let me have a few hours with the people above, that’d be a baseball night to remember.


1 Comment | Leave a comment

Great idea! I think it's interesting that we didn't pick any of the same people. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the UCB posts to see who that picked.





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