Oh, what did Della wear boy,
What did Della wear?
She wore a bran’ new jersey,
That’s what she did wear.
This is what Anne was singing to me as we cruised into Park on Saturday morning, all the while, I was biking next to her, trying to get her and her bran’ new jersey all in the same frame. Saturday, surely had the best example of Labor Day weather that Saint Louis has ever shown us in our thirty years of residence here. So it should have been no surprise when we hit the Park that it was already packed. Nobody wanted to be inside on this day.
By the time that we reached the far end of the Park, we had had enough and decided to bail from it. Using our magic devil machines we charted a new course to Saturday’s venue of the Gateway Cup bicycle races, the Tour des Hills, also known as Francis Park; our mission, to cheer on our friend Kubie. On the way there, we passed through the Hill neighborhood. The Hill is the Italian neighborhood in Saint Louis. It is the place to go for great Italian food. On Sunday, it will also be the place to go for bicycling riding and racing, but that is tomorrow’s story. On Saturday, The Hill was quiet, as before the storm.
As we were climbing the hill that gives The Hill its name Anne remembered a special block in this neighborhood. It is the block length of Elizabeth that lies between Sublette and Macklind, also known as Hall of Fame Place. This small block with its even smaller houses produces three baseball hall of fame recipients, Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, and Jack Buck. There are plaques in the sidewalk for all of this block’s sports heroes. What’s even more amazing is the depth of talent that this block produced. In addition to the “big three” are the following other athletes, Ben Pucci, 1948 AAFC Champion with the Cleveland Browns and Mickey Garagiola, Wrestling at the Chase, trust me on this one, this was a big deal in Saint Louis. We found five plaques, but there are more.
It might have been the weather, or maybe it was Anne, but while we were exploring the Hall of Fame Place, we got to speak with three long time residents of this mighty lane. The first guy, we never introduced ourselves, this is Saint Louis, and you don’t introduce yourself until you know more about each other. Anyway, the first guy lives in Joe Garagiola former home. He broke the bad news. Joe’s brother, Mickey died last Saturday and both Joe and Yogi have just recently suffered falling injuries. After all of his bad news we got to talking.
He and the other two gentlemen seem to enjoy the tourist or at least us two. The first guy did complain about tour buses though, they block traffic. The second guy came up and spoke with us as I was taking the street sign picture for this post. He thought that I was photographing the corner storefront which is now “Compleat Financial”. He owns the adjacent home and his uncle once owned the corner storefront and made “the best hot salami in Saint Louis there”. We talked for a while and before we parted Anne asked him where the best salami might be found now-a-days? He was unequivocal in his recommendation, Giola’s Deli at the corner of Macklind and Daggett.
Our third wise man lived in the house of Buck, as in Jack Buck. He generously polished the Jack Buck plaque for us. All of this baseball stuff is fine enough, but are there any soccer fans out there? Am I pandering now? If you are a US soccer fan, then your Meeca is this same said Hill neighborhood. Five Hill residents formed the heart of the 1950 U.S. World Cup soccer team that upset top-ranked England 1-0.
OK then, it is getting late tonight and I am not even yet to 11 AM in our day. It is time to kick the prose up a gear or two and maybe let the pictures fill in a bit too. We rode to Saint Francis Park and watch Kubie race. She wasn’t going to win, but she and two of her competitors were unjustly deprived of finishing. After her race we biked back home. We got 16 miles.
Anne, Dave, Kennard and I went to the Cardinals game on Saturday afternoon. The Cards were playing Cincinnati, our division leaders. We sat in the bleachers again, not too far from where we sat with Rey last October. Even though the weather was cool today, the bleacher seats were warm and very bright. I don’t know how any fan can sit through a game there in Saint Louis’ normal ninety degree summer weather. The Cardinals lost to the Reds, 6-1. I don’t think that the playoffs will be in the cards for Saint Louis this year.