The St. Louis Cardinals won two World Championships in the 1960s.
Within that decade, legends and hall of famers wore the birds on the bat and Thursday, May 9, three of St. Louis' most popular players from this significant era of team history were honored.
Roger Maris, Curt Flood and Mike Shannon were the honored names in Springfield at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame baseball induction luncheon. Joining them was notable baseball scout and Missouri native Tom Greenwade who is best known for signing Mickey Mantle to a big league contract.
Nearly 1,000 sponsors and baseball fans packed the University Plaza Convention Center for the afternoon ceremony.
Maris, Flood and Greenwade have all passed on, but their children were on hand to accept the posthumous awards.
Flood's history in baseball is sometimes forgotten or cloudy, but his daughter, Shelly spoke to the crowd as eloquently as anyone would expect as she let everyone know her father's full and true story will someday come out.
"We're fighting for Cooperstown, of course," Shelly Flood said. Curt Flood is one of many debatable players in the game of baseball whose National Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown, N.Y. is hardly discussed. "Many times growing up, people would introduce me as Curt Flood's daughter, and the person would say, 'Who?' That's very disheartening. It's time that people know the history and the history correctly. People are becoming more aware."
Curt Flood's law suits and assertive actions eventually lead to not only baseball, but all professional sports having free agency.
Roger Maris is best known to the baseball world as the man who broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961, but there was more to his playing days. Maris played in more World Series than anyone in the '60s decade and in that time won three World Championships and seven pennants.
"It's a great honor for Dad to be inducted with one of his teammates, Curt Flood. Dad would also be very pleased to be inducted on the same day as his good friend, Mike Shannon," Randy Maris, Roger's son born during the historic 1961 season, remarked in the opening of his speech. "It is truly an honor to have Dad inducted in the state where he made his home for 10 years in Kansas City. When Dad was traded to St. Louis, it became one of the happiest times in his career. He was so blessed to have the support of not only all his teammates but the support of what I consider to be the best teams in baseball — the most knowledgeable fans, the St. Louis Cardinals fans."
Randy Maris remarked how his father was a family man and that time in St. Louis finally made it comfortable to play ball and see his children.
Page 2 of 2 - "The most important thing in my father's life was his family. He had already spent seven years in New York while the family was back in Kansas City, the town he had grown to love," Randy Maris said. "Being a Cardinal meant that Dad was closer to his family in Kansas City, it also enabled us to spend summer months in St. Louis with him. We would go to the ballpark, be in the dugout, on the field, in the clubhouse, going to cookouts with his teammates, families. It was just a great time for Dad."
But the highlight of the entire ceremony was Mike Shannon being named the 26th Missouri Sports Legend and the unveiling of his bust which will be on display at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Springfield.
"This is a special honor to me, I can't tell you how honored I am to be standing up here with my friends here. To see the great people that we have in our country, we need to pat ourselves on the back. This is a great country, this is the greatest hall of fame there is," Shannon said. "I think from mountain range to mountain range in our country, we have the midwest and that's what keeps our country together. It's so much fun for me to come to the ballpark on an everyday basis."
Also honored were the 1964 and 1967 Cardinals World Championship teams. 90-year-old National Baseball and Missouri Sports Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst, who was a coach in '64 and manager in '67, spoke about those championship seasons.