For 55 years, the St. Louis chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America has been hosting a dinner. The dinners used to be very common and held by chapters across the United States. Now, only three are left, New York, Boston and St. Louis.
At the dinner, awards are handed out not only to players on the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, but also to others involved in sports in the area.
Sunday night, I had the luxury to attend the BBWAA dinner in St. Louis and it was something I will never forget.
The evening was a great success as awards were handed out while fans and writers got a chance to see the players in attendance in a different light. There were 107 tables set up and 10 people were assigned to a table. After walking in, I quickly found my table, No. 9. It was right in front of the stage.
First and foremost, the writers honored the late Stan Musial who died the day before the dinner. Stan Musial was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969. If he had lived to this year's enshrinement, Musial would have been alive for 45 Hall of Fame inductions. He was the longest tenured living member of the Hall of Fame.
A No. 6 Cardinals jersey was draped over the podium showing both, the front and the back with Musial's name and number on the jersey. A moment of silence was held for Musial and several players and writers shared memories they had of Musial.
Musial wasn't the only baseball legend to pass away on Saturday. The great Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver also died Saturday while on a Baltimore Orioles fan cruise.
They say everything happens in threes and while I don't know of anyone else dying Saturday, I do know of a birth. While baseball lost two great legends, baseball also gained a one of its newest fans.
My son, Jaxson Donald Farmer, was born Saturday morning here in Hannibal. He was a month early. I like to think that Jaxson decided to enter this world on Saturday so he could somehow share the spirits of Musial and Weaver.
Back to the dinner.
Among the award winners were the Lafayette High School volleyball team. The Lafayette girls' volleyball team went undefeated (40-0) in 2012 on its way to a second straight state volleyball championship. But, not only did the team go undefeated, but it never lost a set all year. The Lafayette team won all 40 games by a perfect 2-0 margin, going a 80-0. For the team's success, the Lafayette girls' team won the Cathie Burnes Beebe Award for Excellence in Women's Athletics.
Also winning an award was Ellen Port. Port won the Cathie Burnes Beebe Award many years ago, but Saturday she won the John E. Wray/Myron Holtzman Award. It is presented for achievement in sports other than professional baseball. Port is an amateur golfer from Missouri who has won many tournaments and titles over her lifetime.
Jay Randolph won the Dr. Robert F. Hyland/Rick Hummel Award for Meritorious Service to Sports.
The man of the evening was Yadier Molina. Molina won the J. G. Taylor Spink Award as the Player of the Year. The BBWAA and the Cardinal's had Molina's Gold Glove and his Platinum Glove Awards on hand for display. However, Molina was unable to attend and sent in a video greeting.
Several Cardinals won awards as well. Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook was presented with the Darryl Kile Award. The Darryl Kile Award is voted on by the players on the St. Louis Cardinals team, but handed out by the BBWAA.
Adam Wainwright presented the award to Westbrook and then the two pitchers did a funny celebratory dance in front of the crowd.
Matt Carpenter, who hit a dramatic home run in game three of the 2013 NLCS against the Giants won the Jack Herman/Joe Ostermeier Rookie of the Year Award for the Cardinals.
Wainwright won the Cardinals Bob Bauman Physical Comeback Award. Wainwright joked "I am the only candidate for the award, but it was still special none the less."
Several members of the Cardinals won the J. Roy Stockton/Bob Broeg Award for Outstanding Achievement in Baseball. Among those Cardinals who won were Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Mitchell Boggs, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and manager Mike Matheny.
Bringing in a bit of the past, former Cardinal Mark Whitten was brought back. Whitten won the Brian P. and Bob Burnes Award for Nostalgia. This year will be the 20th anniversary of Whitten becoming the Cardinal's player to ever hit four home runs in one game. Whitten accomplished the feat on September 7, 1993 when he hit a grand slam, two three-run homers and a two-run shot to match the team record of 12 RBI's in one game.
I had a great time at the dinner. It was an experience I will never forget.