(BaseballStL) — Though he may split time between New York and Los Angeles, everyone knows Jon Hamm’s favorite team plays in the Midwest.
The actor grew up in north St. Louis County and is a very public supporter of the Redbirds.
“I went to my first world series game in 1982 when I was 11,” he said Monday. “I was like, ‘Well I’ll never get to see one of these again,’ because I suffered through the Cardinals in the 70s so I thought it was a one and done situation.”
The club would go on to appear in six more Fall Classics, winning two of them. Hamm was along for the wild 2006 ride, present in New York when Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran to win the NLCS.
Monday, he was honored at Busch Stadium with a bobble head night. Before the game, he talked to media about baseball, growing up a Cardinal fan and his love of the game in general.
“I was just reading an article in I think the New York Times where they were talking about the pace of play and the new commissioner coming in and what they’re going to do about it and how they need to grow the game with the younger fans,” Hamm said. “I’m like, it’s still the same game I liked when I was a little kid. I mean the world moves a little quicker, but it’s kind of nice that baseball slows everything down a little bit, at least for a couple hours a day.”
The 43-year-old has been around the game his whole life, becoming best friends with former Cardinal catcher Ted Simmons’ son in seventh grade. Simmons actually gave him his first piece of treasured leather when he was a teenager.
“He bought me my first catcher’s mitt when I was 13 years old. It was a really good glove, I wish I still had it. It took me about two years to break the [darn] thing in,” Hamm laughed.
Later, he was classmates with St. Louis Cardinals Director of Scouting Dan Kantrovitz at The John Burroughs school. The lifetime love affair has lead to a deep appreciation for the organization and fans like him who support it.
“It gets a lot of play and it can get a little hokey that ‘hey, we’re the best fans in baseball.’ But, you know, some stereotypes are true. We are really good fans,” he said. “You look at the people who stick around this organization. Stan Musial, who we unfortunately lost, Ozzie Smith, even (Al) Hrabosky upstairs. People stick around because they want to stick around. Jim Edmonds lives here because he wants to live here. It’s a nice place to be.”
Hamm threw out the first pitch Monday before the Reds game, a night in which special themed tickets were available for purchase, a portion of which would go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hamm said he picked the charity himself.
“St. Jude has been a big part of my charitable giving since I’ve had money to give. I lost my mother to cancer and my father to diabetes, so infectious disease has unfortunately been a part of my life,” he said. “The more I learned about St. Jude and what they do and how they do it, it’s an organization unlike any other. I couldn’t be more sincere when I say they are some of the greatest people on the planet. They provide free healthcare for kids who can’t afford it.”
The star was dressed in a button up and chinos, wearing sneakers with a scruffy beard and a throwback Cardinals hat.
“I’m pretty sure they just repurposed a Matt Carpenter bobble head for my thing,” he joked.
Though he’s one of the more recognizable actors working today, he seemed right at home talking to local media. When he talked baseball, he could have been sitting in your living room with his feet up.
“Old Busch was like playing in the Grand Canyon. The ball would roll around the corners and all our guys would just circle the bases. It’s a different game now. The fences are moved in and it’s more important to hit a ball over the fence than it is to take second base or third base,” he said. “Watching Vince Coleman get over 100 stolen bases in a season, that’s never going to happen again. And there are speed burners out there. The Reds have [Billy] Hamilton. That guy can steal first he’s so fast. It’s just not the way it’s played out anymore.”
Hamilton would end up making a difference with his legs in the ninth inning, something Hamm was able to watch live. His Cardinals would go on to win in the 10th inning on a Jhonny Peralta walk off.
Even as a regular fan, being a Golden Globe winner has to have it’s perks when trying to catch walk-offs at a sold out Busch Stadium
“It’s way easier to get tickets,” he smiled. “Although in the 70s it was pretty easy.”