ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The first thing Mike Shannon did was thank Red Schoendienst’s family.
He thanked them for sharing the man they loved with the rest of the world for 95 years.
Shannon, who has been the voice of the Cardinals for decades, first crossed career paths with Red in the early sixties. One man was beginning a playing career in St. Louis, one was ending it.
“I was lucky enough to know him as a player, a manager, a friend and a mentor. It’s because of Red that I and so many other people accomplished so much in life.”
Their lives were intertwined for more than fifty years after Shannon began playing for the Cardinals, and the 78-year-old was glowing as he talked about the intervening decades.
“Red was everything everyone else wanted to be,” he said. “Man, woman, child, everyone wanted to be just like Red.”
The St. Louis Basilica was completely full for Schoendienst’s funeral, and Shannon’s eulogy was a perfect tribute; filled with genuine emotion and humor, bringing the assembled mourners to tears before filling the room with laughter.
“Red has left a legacy of living by the golden rule for his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren and all of us,” he said. “When something needed to be done, Red was the one to do it. He did it the way you were supposed to do it. Not only on the field but off the field. He was one of the most moral people that we will ever know. God blessed us all in him being with us.”
Before he stepped away, Shannon spoke one last time on Red’s lasting legacy; his retired number, his Hall of Fame plaque and the shining black statue outside of Busch Stadium. He put it simply.
“People come and people go, but Number 2 will always stay.”