Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame

After we were done at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory yesterday, we walked up and down part of Main Street to take a look at the Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame. It’s done really well, with a replica bronze bat done to specification for each player on the walk, as well as a bronze home plate detailing the highlights of their careers. Any baseball fan can find heroes from their childhood as they walk along Main Street, from many teams in MLB, as well as a few Negro League players, such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson, who were never given the chance to play in the majors.

The highlight for the whole family was, of course, seeing Stan the Man’s bat on the Walk of Fame.

We didn’t finish the whole walk…it would have been a mile and back, and a certain little toddler was getting tired. I wish we could have spent more time walking…it’s a great way to spend some time learning about baseball history and enjoying beautiful downtown Louisville!

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Yesterday, we took a field trip to Louisville, KY, and toured the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

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It’s a fantastic place. We went on the factory tour first thing, and while no photography is allowed on the factory floor, there is one window into the factory for public viewing. It was fascinating seeing how the bats are made, and how quickly!

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The Bat Vault, the “Fort Knox of Louisville Slugger,” was especially popular with the children.

The museum was also fascinating. It’s quite interactive. There’s even a place where you can stand and see a 90 mph fastball coming at you, which is unsettling…you barely see, and it’s on the ground!

Of course I loved the tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League!

There’s a section dedicated to the Louisville awards, including the Silver Slugger and the Silver Bat.

There’s also a small theater that shows a short film narrated by none other than James Earl Jones. The exit from the theater leads you through a clubhouse-like hallway to a dugout.

Baseball is everywhere you look in the building!

Of course, we had to look for Stan Musial on the two Walls of Fame!

There’s even a batting cage, which was very popular with the big kids (including Daddy and Grandpa!), and a “Small Ball” area with a tee and plastic bats for the under-five crowd.

 

The outside of the museum boasts the World’s Biggest Bat, an exact-scale replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger.

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And a large brickwork ball to go with it!

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There’s also a super-sized Kentucky limestone glove inside.

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This was a great day trip for our family…we got to learn more about baseball, and there was plenty of activity to keep us busy after we spent a few hours in the car!

Honoring Stan the Man

We had the privilege of going to the Cardinals game tonight where they honored Stan “The Man” Musial. As soon as we got off the train, we noticed tributes to Stan.

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The Gateway Harmonica Club, of which Stan was a member, was in attendance. They played outside the stadium as the gates were opening, and then played inside before the game. I was shocked to see that there are so many different types of harmonicas!

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The most┬ánoticeable┬átribute inside Busch Stadium itself was the giant “6” in the outfield.

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The outfield fence has a replica of the patch the Cardinals players are wearing in Stan’s memory this season, as well.

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There were other mentions of Stan around the park and in the Team Store…

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But the most meaningful of all were the tributes by the military. A B-25 flyover:

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And a group of sailors unveiling an additional to the Musial statue outside the ballpark. If you didn’t shed a tear when they saluted, I seriously think you might be lacking a soul!

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Stan’s grandchildren threw out the first pitch(es). They were led out to the mound by Stan’s longtime friend, Red Schoendienst, which seemed fitting.

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It was also harmonica night.

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During the sixth inning (of course), the fans were encouraged to pull out their harmonicas, and play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” along with an old video of Stan playing on his own harmonica.

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It was a beautiful and fitting way to honor the greatest Cardinal to ever wear the uniform!

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Stan Musial

Like many St. Louisans, and baseball fans everywhere, I was surprised to hear of the passing of Stan Musial last night. Yes, he was quite elderly (92!), and he had been in ill-health for quite some time. So his passing should have been, and in some ways was, expected. And yet, I was surprised.

Why?

Because Stan has always been here. He spent his entire career (22 years). with the Cardinals–almost unheard of now. He was always there, in red jacket, for Opening Day, even as he grew more frail. He was, quite simply, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now the Cardinals must go on without their perfect ambassador. There will be others to step up to the plate, so to speak, and take on that role, others who will be loved and celebrated in St. Louis.

But none of them will ever be The Man, and he will never be forgotten.

Quote of the Day

Just a few quotes in honor of Stan “the Man” Musial:

He could have hit .300 with a fountain pen. Joe Garagiola

I’ve had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third. Carl Erskine

Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight. Ford C. Frick

Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball. William DeWitt Jr.