Sunday, July 16, 2006

Reuss Takes Stroll Down Memory Lane

From the Los Angeles Times
By Steve Henson
Times Staff Writer
July 16, 2006

ST. LOUIS — Odd how a new building can evoke memories from 50 years ago. St. Louis native Jerry Reuss strolled around Busch Stadium marveling at how the gleaming structure brought back "the smell of stale beer and cigars from the days of straw hats."

The former pitcher is a white-haired 57-year-old Dodgers radio broadcaster these days, but he vividly recalled how he felt as a 7-year-old attending his first Cardinals game at Sportsman's Park."

I looked out at the field from the reserved level and saw that perfectly manicured green grass," he said. "At that moment I knew I wanted baseball to be part of my life forever."

Half a century later, Reuss toured the new stadium with a digital camera, taking pictures of architecture that reminded him of Sportsman's Park and old Busch Stadium, and pausing just to breathe in the damp Midwestern summer air.

Could it have been nearly 40 years ago when he was a local high school hotshot going to $5 Teen Night games? It wasn't long before he was sitting in the Busch Stadium dugout, about to make his debut at 20 with the Cardinals, who had made the left-hander a second-round draft pick.

"I happened to look up at those seats I'd sat in just two years earlier and thought, 'Am I the luckiest guy in the world or what?' " he said.

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