ACKERMAN: Raise a glass to Red today

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – One of the best lines Tony La Russa ever delivered was at spring training in 2011, during a busy news cycle for the club. I’ll never forget it.

“You know,” La Russa said to a group of reporters, “Albert guaranteed me he’s going to be a Cardinal for life.”

Everyone leaned in, waiting for more. Really?

“Yeah,” La Russa smirked. “Albert ‘Red’ Schoendienst.”

Schoendienst, the late, great Hall of Famer, chuckled back then when I relayed that story to him.

“That’s Tony,” Schoendienst said from his golf cart that day. “He’s always thinking about something. I enjoyed being with Tony all these years.”

Two legendary managers, one iconic franchise. And just one of many connections between the St. Louis Cardinals’ elite group of Hall of Famers.

Red Schoendienst died in 2018 at the age of 95. But we still feel his presence... because he was a Cardinals lifer.

La Russa always wanted Schoendienst, a world champion player and manager, nearby for advice and wisdom.

As we celebrate today on what would have been the home opener at Busch Stadium, what do we think about? Family, friends, memories. Clydesdales. Hall of Famers in red jackets.

Schoendienst was teammates – and roommates – with Stan Musial. He managed Lou Brock… and Bob Gibson.

“You can’t get enough pitching,” Schoendienst always said.

Red coached for Whitey Herzog. He watched over Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Ted Simmons. His imprint on the Cardinals is everywhere.

He went hunting and fishing with Mike Shannon and still has a nameplate at his seat in the broadcast booth. And yes, he loved a cold, frosty one.

So when you’re thinking about the Cardinals today, raise a glass to Red Schoendienst.

Above is an interview I treasure… it’s right before the 2011 season. Months later, Red would get another World Series ring. Enjoy.

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