The Gospel Truth

Who Do They Think I am? (Random Thoughts Part I) | July 19, 2012

The eminent economist and columnist, Thomas Sowell likes to publish a series of what he calls, his random thoughts.

He does this presumably when he can’t think of anything else to write about or maybe has an idea for one that does not have the necessary legs to warrant  500-1000 words.

I am going to try that myself and see if it works for me.

Has a lot of random thoughts like me

What you will read below are just a collection of thoughts that I have had, or stories I have told or even experiences that have enriched my life with humor, insight and maybe an epiphany or two.

In this case they usual relate to famous people I have met in St. Louis.


I am privileged to have known one of America’s greatest legends, Stan the Man Musial, who delighted St. Louis fans for twenty-three seasons while a member of the Cardinals.

Stan had come to a couple of my St. Louis Browns affairs.

His former American League rivals loved to be around such a great Hall of Famer and truly marvelous human being.

He loves to play the harmonica.  His hair is getting thinner on top, but longer in the back because he says: I am a musician!

My favorite musician!

At one of our BFC dinners, I noticed that when he plays the harmonica, he closes his eyes.

I said Stan I bet there are a thousand National League pitchers who wished you had closed your eyes when you hit.

For years, I kept running into Stan, especially at Annunziata Catholic Church, where we both attend.

And I had seen him in Florida on the beach and many other places.

At a party once, he called me over to him and asked, Who are you?

I tell him and the next day at Mass we run into each other and he says How you doing Bob?

Another time I had messed up our reservations for the Archbishop’s luncheon and so I was voted the odd man out.

I had to go sit in the back at an open table.  Who happened to be sitting next to me but Stan and Lil.

I proceeded to regale them all about me and Lil said that I reminded her of sportswriter Bob Broeg, who talks and writes in 1000-word essays.

That was a conversation-stopper.

Many years ago, Stan was coming out of Annunziata and I was dragging my then three-year old son, Matthew, who was being as stubborn as a Missouri mule who forgot to take his Prozac.

Missed a dose

Just at the exact instant I jerked the kid forward, Stan took his rolled up Catholic newspaper and started to swat Matt in the back of the head.

This was easy grounds for child abuse today!

He missed.

I couldn’t believe the Man, who could hit a 95-an-hour fastball out of the park but whiffed at a melon-sized head of a three-year old.

Stan was born on November 21, 1920, the same year as Pope John Paul II, the second most famous Pole in St. Louis.

He goes faithfully to Mass every week.

His wife Lil had been in a wheelchair for many years.  She just passed away earlier this year.

Stan used to wheel her out and get her in the car and then fold up the chair.

He did this, even with bad knees for many years, such was his true greatness.

Sainthood doesn’t happen on a baseball field but in the parking lot, the kitchen and any other place a husband can help his ill wife.

One Sunday a friend rushed up to me and showed me an autographed baseball that Stan had just given him for helping with her chair.

I was a bit jealous to say the least.

A few months later I noticed that no one was helping Stan put the chair in his car after the 5:00 Mass on Saturday.

As I rushed over to assist, two other people did as well.

He told me that he gave balls for helping.  I said innocently: No, I didn’t know that!  Well he gave us each an autographed ball.

But I was the one who folded the chair.  I was the one who lifted it and put it in the truck but he still gave each one of us an autographed ball.

Lil and Stan Musial in 2007

Thought I was Bob Broeg

I looked at mine and said to him: Stan this says ‘Red Schoendienst’?  He paused for just a second and then smiled because I had tweaked him…or is it tweet?

** Speaking of kids and coming out of Church, I am always careful not to step on one because it is so difficult to scrap them off the soles of your shoes when you do.


I have been in the St. Louis Cardinals press box maybe twenty times because of my baseball publications and historical interest.

I used to ask maybe twice a year.

As long as I did not push it the Cardinals, always complied.

I am sitting at a table with Hall of Famers, Ralph Kiner, then the announcer for the Mets and my alter ego, Post-Dispatch columnist, Bob Broeg.

In comes Hall of Fame broadcaster, Jack Buck.

Now I had met him before and he had actually interviewed me  in his broadcast booth three separate times in the 1970s.

But like a lot of people, he does not seem to have a clue who I am or what I do.

My family is the same way.

He looks at me and said, What are you doing here?

Buck and Kiner tried to figure out who I am

I did not really know how to answer that question.

Some years later–it was in 1989, I had just taken Matthew to Super Bowl XXIII.

If you ever see the highlights from that exciting game, the winning TD was scored just in front of my seats in the 22nd row and if you look quickly I am in one of the 13 different camera shots.

Joe Montana e1296562055456 The History of the Super Bowl in Pictures Part II

The pass that became my highlight.

On the return trip, we were sitting in first class.

(Actually I was in first class.  They had messed up the return tickets and I bribed Matthew to sit in coach because the seat was right next to Jack Buck.)

After take-off, I truthfully told Jack that this was the first Super Bowl game I had ever seen in person.

He looked at me and said, Oh, I thought you would have been covering them.  Who does he think I am!

Years later, the year of the replacement players, my wife and I are returning to our then favorite hotel, the Don Cesar in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, one night.

We have been going there every year for thirty-five years.

I see Jack Buck sitting in his blue Lincoln outside the side entrance.

I look at him and he motions me over.

We talk for a few minutes about the unique situation in baseball and he asks me:  What are you doing here?

I say, I am staying here!

Really…You must be doing better than I am was his response.

The Don CeSar Beach Resort

Doing better than Jack

I say: I guess I am.

Jack was a great guy but he really gave me an identity complex.

Who did he think I am?




1 Comment »

  1. An old high school friend wrote recently:

    Thomas Sowell may have a knack for reporting on and prognosticating on the plight of our Rerpublic and its economy–but he surely cannot hold a candle to your humble reportage of The Man. Can’t wait for Pt 2.

    Comment by bbprof — July 20, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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