The moment Red walked by: A chance encounter with a Cardinal leg - KMOV.com

The moment Red walked by: A chance encounter with a Cardinal legend

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St. Louis Cardinals' Red Schoendienst is seen during spring training baseball Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) St. Louis Cardinals' Red Schoendienst is seen during spring training baseball Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

By: Bob Cyphers, KMOV Assignment Editor

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- This story starts and ends a long time ago.

Somewhere in the late 80's, I was sent to Busch Stadium to interview someone with the Cardinals management. I can't even remember what it was about.  I'm sitting in the first base dugout with my photographer, waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Finally, a Cardinal's media rep shows up and says "I'm sorry.  We are stuck in meetings. We're going to have to cancel."

"No problem," I said as prepared to leave. "It happens in our business all the time."

And then Red Schoendienst walked by.

"Hi," he said as he sat next to me with a fungo bat and stuck out his hand. "I'm Red Schoendienst."

When this happens, one takes a big gulp, and then says "Hi. I'm Bob."

And away we went.
___________

We talked for about 30 minutes on tape. I couldn't wait until I got back to the station and tell them of our incredible luck.

We talked about my children and his grandchildren, about my parents and his parents.  We talked about his hometown of Germantown.  We talked about Roosevelt and Nixon. Somehow, we got off on Montreal, where I spent my honeymoon and he had tales about nearly freezing at old Jarry Park. We discovered we both liked lasagna. Then it was off to winter league ball and some of the crazy places and things he had seen. I mentioned my craziest sports experience was a high school basketball game in Cairo, Illinois.

"Been there," said Red. "1945."

Then it was on to baseball, about the Babe and Hank, Willie and Gibby. Steroids and why the Cubs could never win.  I covered every topic known to man.

We went on and on and on and on. It was like a father and son catching up after 30 years apart. Except it was two strangers who had never met before.

We shook hands, said goodbye, and I rushed back to the station. I thought I had the greatest interview ever recorded. I put in the tape, sat back, and watched 30 minutes of two guys talking about everything there was to talk about in life. And then it hit me; I just spent quality time with a Hall of Fame baseball player, a Cardinal legend, and we never talked about him.

I sat stunned. How could this have happened?
______________    

My job changed, and our paths never crossed again. I was back at the ballpark a few weeks later, and another Cardinals media person came up to me and asked for my address.

"My address," I said.  "What for?"

"Red really enjoyed visiting with you a few weeks ago. He wanted to drop you a card."

Well, that would be a first for me. So each day the mailman would come, and of course, I would be standing by the box waiting. And nothing. Summer turned to fall turned to winter. And then I got a call at work.

"Bob, we found some old letter for you in a work mailbox."

I rushed up to get it, and there it was. A small thank you card from a Hall of Famer.

"Bob, loved our chat. Drop by again. Regards, Red Schoendienst."

As if he needed to sign his last name.

Bob Cyphers is KMOV assignment editor and a former sports producer. 

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