Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anyone Remember Butz's Tavern in Dutchtown in S. St. Louis?

Keith M. Eckrich,  Albuquerque, NM


In 1948 I was 9 years old. Back then St. Louis neighborhood taverns were family friendly. Kids were welcome to play the pinball machine for a nickel and munch on those famous soft pretzels while dad downed a cold glass of locally brewed Griesedieck Brothers beer. Butz’s Tavern, in “Dutchtown” in South St. Louis, was a haven for baseball fans, especially for the American League’s St. Louis Browns. In front of the huge mirror behind the bartender was a collection of baseball paraphernalia. I pointed to a baseball balanced atop a beer glass and asked Mr. Butz what that baseball was all about. He handed it to me: “Here, kid, it’s a souvenir from the ball park. It’s all yours.” Wow! My own baseball, a real one, right from the big leagues, and it even sported an autograph!

That baseball thrilled me and my buddy Joey. We played catch by the hour. We hit grounders to hone our infield skills. We slammed “home run” fly balls to emulate Stan Musial. We were in training to become major leaguers to play at Sportsmans Park, the St. Louis Cardinals’ home field on North Grand Avenue.

One day Joey asked me: “Say, there was an autograph on your baseball, but it’s all worn off now. What team did he play with?” I pondered. “I don’t know, but I do remember it’s some guy by the name of “Ted Williams.”

Joey gasped in disbelief: “Hey, guy, you just struck out!”

If you remember Butz's Tavern, drop us a note to tell us what you remember. STLBrowns@swbell.net

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