New links to baseball seasons past.

For a guy who NEEDED nothing for Christmas, I wound up receiving a number of items I will certainly put to use in 2013.
From a nephew, Tim, I received some car-care products. My in-laws, Don and Glenda, gave the gift of cash for which there is never a shortage of areas to spend it. My daughter, Anna, bought me a wonderful pair of opened-fingered gloves that can transform into finger-warming mittens when I’m outside on a cold, winter’s day. My son, Jacob, and his bride, Whitney, and my son, Caleb, all provided me with memory storage devices that I’ll use for my favorite photo images I’ve taken.
My daughter, Amber, and her husband, Shawn, and my wife, Nancy, provided gifts related to the St. Louis Cardinals’ world championship in 2011.
From Amber and Shawn I received an autographed copy of Tony La Russa’s latest book “One Last Strike.” The book by the Cardinals’ former skipper discusses his long career in professional baseball as well as the Redbirds’ amazing run to their world championship in what proved to be La Russa’s last season at the team’s helm.
Nancy ordered me the DVD set of all the World Series games played in 2011, which will prove delightful to view on those cold winter days when baseball is just a warm spot in the back of my mind.
While both the book and DVD series had been on my Christmas list, I never envisioned a hardback, autographed copy of La Russa’s book. I’d dismissed the DVD series because of the expense.
Like many, I’ve been a fan of baseball, and specifically of the Cardinals since I can remember. While I can’t say when I first heard the voice of long-time Cardinals announcer, Harry Caray, because of the frequency that St. Louis baseball games were tuned in on the radio in my parents’ home when I was growing up, it’s safe to say Caray’s voice was as inprinted on me as my mom and dad’s.
My choice to be a Cardinals fan was made in 1964. While people talk about the 2011 Redbirds overcoming a 10.5-game deficit to make the playoffs, the ’64 team actually trailed by 11 games on Aug. 23. After winning the National League the Cardinals went on to beat what had been my other favorite team, the New York Yankees, in the World Series.
More World Series memories were made in the ’67, ’68, ’82, ’85 and ’87. While not all the recollections from those years are positive, they’re something a fan can hang onto.
Memories are not the only way a fan can hang onto cherished seasons. Some use items such as ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, baseball cards, player autographs, yearbooks, etc., to rekindle thoughts of seasons past.
One of my most cherished and oldest remembrance items is a record album featuring Cardinals radio highlights from the ’67 season. I don’t know if it will still play, but I still have it.
Because I moved to Hannibal in ’85 from south-central Kansas, where Royals baseball rules, I made a point of recording on VCR tapes all seven games of the I-70 Series. I’m not sure if they’ll play on my current VCR, but I still have those tapes stashed away.
More recently I purchased a DVD series of the greatest games played at Busch Stadium II. I also own a DVD series featuring select playoff games from the 2006 season, including all five World Series games.
Will I watch the 2011 Series DVDs every day? No. But they will be cherished links to the past as years pass and my memory of memorable October games begins to fade.