Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Susie Remembers Sportsman's Park and Stan the Man

I am writing to share some of my memories of “Sportsman’s Park” and the Cardinals along with my favorite player Stan “the Man” Musial.

My dad, Matt, was a barber in a St. Louis Hotel and my Mom, Martha, was a clerk there. They got married a few years later. When they started their family, they moved to St. Louis County. My Dad and Mom loved baseball and they took my brother, Patrick, and me to ball games at the old Sportsman’s Park when we were young, then later to Busch Stadium.

One of my aunts had a friend who was a neighbor of Stan Musial. When I was about 9 or 10, I got to meet Stan while visiting his neighbor with my aunt. After that we saw him several times. Through that friendship, he signed a ball for me and one for Patrick and gave them to us. I now have both those balls signed by #6 himself. Patrick passed away at an early age and my parents are also gone.

I also remember times when he gave us signed pictures of himself and us all going to games to see him play. One such time he hit a home run and as he ran the bases, he was looking into the crowd and then waved at us in the bleachers. It made us feel very special to be friends of this great man. Everyone around us thought he was waving to them.

I have Cerebral Palsy and was able to take part in the Easter Seals Camp for about 25 years. After Musial retired from ball, he was on the board of some charities, including Easter Seals, and I got to see him several times there.

In 1995 I came to the New Florence Nursing and Care Center to live. My parents sold our home in Montgomery City and came here to live out their lives. I used to go to their room and we would pop popcorn and have sodas and enjoyed the Cardinal games on TV.

Fred Bird and his driver came out to see us a few times and the driver would ask questions since Fred Bird didn’t talk. I recall his driver asked a question about Stan Musial and I answered it correctly and was given another autographed ball from Stan. All 3 of the signed balls are in a safe place with my friend and caregiver. My first ball got messed up a little from showing it off so much, but the others are in great shape.

I was very young when we all went to Sportsman’s Park and don’t remember all the names of the players. But baseball was always a big part of our family time and still is to me.

Thank you for letting me share my story with everyone.

Sincerely, Susie Ryan.

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