Big Irish, Moon Man or St Louis Treasure, Ya Gotta Like Mike…

St Louis is definitely a baseball town.

Oh, we have the Blues and their loyal, sometime zealous fans.  And the Rams have a very strong following, especially of those holding on to their PSLs.

But when it comes to baseball, and playing 162 games with the fans cans in the stands…consistently drawing +3,000,000 annually…yeah, baseball is the reigning king in St Louis.

“Ole Abner has done it again.”

And along with that title, we have our fan favorites.  Sure there are some fans who may like Jim Edmonds, while others think he was a great player, but not one of their favorites…same could be said for others as well…long time Cardinal Bob Forsch…All Star Jack Clark…”should be” Hall of Famer Ted Simmons…

But then you have names that seem to be a favorite of everyone…Stan…Gibby…Lou…Ozzie…Willie McGee…and more recently Mike Matheny…Yadi…Carp…

“He ran to second faster than a cat in Chinatown”

But there is another fan favorite that often gets overlooked as a player…even though he was a part of 2 World Champions and 3 National League Champion teams with the Cardinals.

I recall that in 1963 I started following baseball very close…as close as a 7-8 year old can with one newspaper and only 4 television stations.  That was the year I started going to the Cardinal games with my dad.  He would talk about this local payer from CBC High School, who also used to be quite a good football player in college.

This local product  broke into the big leagues in 1962, made progress in 1963 and was an integral part as the regular Right Fielder of the 1964 Cardinal World Championship team that took down the mighty Yankees of NY.  In Game 1, he hit a monstrous home run off of the “All-World” lefthander Whitey Ford!

“This big standing-room only crowd is settling into their seats.”

In 1967, (actually December 1966) the Cardinals acquired a member from that 1964 Yankee team, Roger Maris.  But in order to complete the trade, they gave up their starting 3rd baseman, Charlie Smith.  This left a vacancy at the “hot corner”, 3rd base.  This “local boy” made the transition to play 3rd base and again was a part of yet another World Champion Cardinal team.

Referring to the Busch Stadium organist:
“Ernie Hayes is up there playing with his organ.”

If you are from St Louis, by now you know I am talking about Mike Shannon.  That colorful, witty, hard-working legend of St Louis baseball and airwaves.

Yes, I said legend.  Perhaps not as a player, although not many played the game harder than he did.  But as a native St Louisan and an ambassador of St Louis and St Louis baseball…heh, heh, heh…you better believe it.

You would have to look long and hard to find a handful of people who would say they did not like Shannon.  Oh sure, there are those that may criticize things about him, but those folks are few and far apart considering how long he has been in the public eye…in 2007, the Cardinals baseball team honored him for 50 years of service to the club.

“Our next homestand follows this road trip”

And his honors will keep on coming.  This year, this local boy turned Cardinals RF turned 3rd baseman turned “Voice of the Cardinals” was named as one of ten finalists nominated for the Ford Frick Award…the highest recognition for a baseball broadcaster.  Even more impressive is that he was the leader in fan voting of all nominees.  Impressive, yes.  Surprising to those of us who long for Spring each February just so we can hear his voice…?  No, not surprising at all.

His honesty comes across in his broadcasts…straight forward…witty…comforting voice that provides a certain baseball logic that, well isn’t always logical…but you end up understanding it…because he is Mike.

So, here’s is a cocktail in honor of Mike…Big Irish…Moon Man…

Big Irish

  1. 2 ounces Irish Whiskey (I like Redbreast, but there are plenty of good ones around)
  2. 1 ounce Thatcher’s Apple Spiced Ginger
  3. .5 Sweet Vermouth (Dolin’s works well)
  4. .25 ounce Fernet Branca
  5. .25 ounce lemon juice
  6. 3-4 dashes of Orange bitters
  7. Place all in a mixing tin/shaker and shake well
  8. Pour into an Old fashioned glass with a large single ice cube (baseball)

While it might not be a “cold frosty one”, I happen to think “it’s a winner!”

Just like Shannon.  Or Big Irish. Or Moon Man.

Every once in a while a city is given a gift, a treasure that seems to fall into it’s lap.  Jack Buck was one of those treasures.  Stan Musial another.

So is Mike Shannon. Ya gotta “Like Mike”.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ah, you brought back some memories John. I went to Cardinal games with my parents, and remember Dad coming with me to stand outside the locker room door (when you could still do that) and wait for Lou Brock to come out so I could get his autograph. That was a time I’ll never forget.

    The drink in Mike Shannon’s honor sounds great, have to try that!


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