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St. Louis Football Cardinals (1960-1987) - The Bidwell Family's Team at Sportsman's Park

Steve R.

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It had to be a treat to cover him one time.  Earl was a unique one of a kind dude on the court, possibly even in his late 40's or early 50's and even with 2 hip transplants.  His hand eye coordination was unmatched and oh those soft touch shooting hands.   My goodness.

Totally off the topic (sorry Don), but actually the most fun I had playing basketball was in the late '70s, living in St. Louis and going to grad school at Washington University.  The NFL team back then was the Cardinals & their players would play b-ball at the Wash. U. gym on weekday afternoons (wonder if the coaching staff knew this?).  At any rate, I got into a # of these games and got pushed around regularly by the linebackers who just mowed me over.  But one day I was covering one of their players and Mel Gray (who was a great "small" receiver) set a pick for him and I tried to go thru it (after all, he was "small").  I ran full force into him and bounced off like a cartoon character, immediately going from l to __ , 90degrees down to the floor.  He was solid as a wall.  I still watch football with an appreciation for just how strong professional athletes are.  And I'm still pissed at how funny they all thought it was.  Served them right to wind up in Arizona.

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Totally off the topic (sorry Don)

[Nonsense, this is how new topics are started, and I *love* that we have one for the St. Louis Cardinals of yore.]

The Cardinals played in Chicago for 62 years, and the owner's widow Violet Bidwell decided to move the team when they couldn't compete with the Chicago Bears. They stayed in St. Louis for 28 years, and moved to Arizona in 1988, where they've played since. Founded in 1898, they are the oldest continuously run professional football club in the United States (they were a charter member of the NFL in 1920 which was then called the American Professional Football Association (APFA), and was renamed the National Football League (NFL) in 1922). Incidentally, the first president of the APFA was non other than Jim Thorpe.

I was surprised to see that only two players from St. Louis have their numbers retired (I figured Jim Hart would, but he doesn't). The Cardinals, despite their longevity, have been a below-average team over the decades, and at the end of 2013, had a franchise record of 511-726-39, being the first franchise to ever lose 700 games). This is also surprising to me, as I (vaguely) remember the Cardiac Cardinals giving the Redskins trouble in the 1980s.

Speaking of the Chicago Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and college basketball memories, I went to college with one William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and the football team used to play pickup basketball games in the athlete's quad. Lots of people probably remember The Fridge, who is actually small by today's standards, but at the time, he was like nothing anyone had ever seen, and was one of the very first 300-pound linemen in the NFL. Despite his official measurements, he was heavier - and shorter - than his listings: Despite being listed as 6'2", I don't think he was much over six-feet tall. Anyway, one day they were all playing basketball, and on the way to class, a friend yelled, "Dunk it, William!" He looked over and smiled, then proceeded to dribble up to the basket, and *easily* dunk the ball backwards. This may not seem like much, but this guy was *huge* - I passed him on campus every day, and he was as wide as he was tall, and as nice as anyone you could ever hope to meet. Now *I'm* sorry to have gotten off-topic. :)

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This thread made me curious.  I contacted two folks I know from St Louis, both big sports fans and big local sports fans.  Do the natives in St. Louis care or miss the former St Louis Cards football team.   One of the two was older and would have followed them for most of their period in St Louis.  One was younger and would have grown up with them.

The responses:  Most in St Louis don't care, or are ambivalent.  Having the Rams makes up for the loss of the Football cards...so there isn't much of a residual fan base in St Louis per these two perspectives.

Meanwhile between the Cardinals football team and the Wizards basketball team we happen to have threads on two franchises with miserable records.

Possibly to spice things up and add an element of team success we need a thread on the Washington Kastle's tennis team.  They have a phenomenal record and are local.  Anyone been to their matches???

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