Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum grand opening

On Monday morning, I had the pleasure of being among the invitees to the grand opening of the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. It was an event I had been long awaiting – ever since the prior museum was closed in 2008.

Six Hall members were present for the ceremonies, emceed by Mike ShannonTony La Russa, Ozzie Smith, Whitey Herzog, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst. Of course, both team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and president Bill DeWitt III were among the speakers.

I was there as a member of the “Red Ribbon Committee” that voted in the veteran player who will enter the Hall this August and set the fan ballot for the modern era players. (You can still vote for your top two preferences among the eight nominees at until April 22.)

While there were dozens of photographers and television crews recording the festivities at Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village, I couldn’t resist, snapping a few photos of my own. (I apologize about some of the shots being grainy, but I traveled lightly, leaving my digital SLR behind for the day.)

Here is the view from Walnut and Broadway by the front corner of the Hilton. There are similar signs at the 8th and Clark intersection and on an arch over Clark coming toward the building from the west.

The main entry to Ballpark Village is on Clark Street.

This was taken to provide a view of the rooftop seats from street level. The Brinks truck idling in front of the building sets up a perfect “create your own caption” opportunity.

The museum is on the second floor of the west end of the building.

Here is a view from the side of the FOX Sports Midwest Live! 40-foot video screen.

The Hall of Famers signed a number of commemorative items. Here we have Tony and Whitey.

Here is one of the signed items. Believe it or not, the Red Ribbon Committee members were asked to include our autographs on this set. To be honest, I felt a bit like a graffiti artist putting my signature down next to Red and Gibby.

Following the Mike Shannon-led ceremony and the ribbon-cutting, Bill DeWitt III led a tour of the museum. On the right are Brock and his wife Jackie, Ozzie, Red and Whitey.

Museum curator Paula Homan and DeWitt III discuss the club’s various logos and extensive jersey collection.

Bill DeWitt Jr. reclaimed from Cooperstown his Browns bat boy uniform. His number 6 was turned into the famous 1/8 worn by Eddie Gaedel in 1951. The team chairman has always owned it, having loaned it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame previously.

Orlando Cepeda’s uniform and Gibson’s 1971 Gold Glove Award. In 2009, the Cards purchased the latter from Gibson via auction for $16,590.

Brock and Gibson uniforms. These are from exhibits remembering each of the 11 Cardinals World Championships.

Grover Cleveland Alexander’s 1926 World Series jersey is a prized item. Even while the museum was closed, the club still budgeted money to acquire items. This particular one was purchased in 2006.

The shredder, introduced by Nick Punto, did its thing to David Freese’s 2011 Game 6 World Series jersey, half of which is shown here. (Its mate is in Cooperstown.) Speaking of which, check back here at The Cardinal Nation blog this week for a related series of giveaways.

Two 1920’s Hall of Famers’ jerseys in Rogers Hornsby and Jim Bottomley.

No Cardinals museum would be respectable without an ample supply of Stan Musial items. The Man is very well represented, including one of his jerseys (center).

One of the most popular features is an interactive map on which visitors can enter their zip code and be recorded in the visual data base of the world. Ozzie Smith was called up to make the first entry, number one, of course.

Long after the VIP tour crowd had dispersed, an obviously proud Bill DeWitt Jr. was still in the galleries, answering questions.

Red took the time to read the 22 plaques. The earlier mockups had photo-like images. Instead, the Cards went with a more-modern version of the Cooperstown look. An improvement on a classic, in my opinion.

Here is a view of the 22 plaques. This gallery is always free to the public. There is an admission charge for the museum. posted a video of DeWitt III and Pat Parris walking through the museum on Sunday. It follows.

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