What started out as a couple of buddies talking about their favorite pastime has turned out to be a tradition – and is being passed down through the generations.
Forty years ago, the week of the first Cardinals home game four friends met to discuss the Cardinals. This week the group led by Gary LeGrande and John Mosher celebrated their 40th Anniversary—and the discussions included their grandsons. The photo above shows LeGrande, second from left and Mosher standing, right behind Mosher’s grandson Nick Rakonick in blue jersey and LeGrande’s grandson, Tyler Hammond.
Eleven Cardinals fans met in the Florissant living room of John and Mary Fran Mosher this week, and they invited Rob Rains as a special guest. Several of the wives sat in the other room drinking coffee and chatting while the 10 men and one woman talked some serious baseball in the living room.
The group is called CARDS Fan Club, with each letter of “CARDS” denoting a different word– but what that is is known only to the founders.
“We started this 40 year ago,” said Mary Fran, looking to Ruth Ann LeGrande (shown above with club member Harmony Lineback). “We either started it at your house or ours. We go back and forth each year.”
“That first year, the men talked about the Cardinals and the game while the women talked about the “All Cute Team” with players like Keith Hernandez at the time,” said Ruth Ann.
“We didn’t care how they played as long as they were cute,” joined in Mary Fran again as they laughed remembering the early days of the CARDS Fan Club as she visited with Debbie Hammond (LeGrande’s daughter), Jackie Ramberger (Mosher’s daughter), and Ruthann LeGrande.
“It started with Gary, John, Gerry Russell, and Angelo Colona. Gerry and Angelo have passed away, but Bob Ramine came in two years later so he’s been with the group for 38 years.”
Mosher’s grandson Nick Rakonick is shown in the photo below to the far left and Tyler Hammond, LeGrande’s grandson is next to him.
Ross Hammond, who is LeGrande’s son-in-law (to the left of Tyler in the photo above, Hammond in center, and Don Coon is on the right) said he has been in the group for 30 years.
“I joined in 1989, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed in until Debbie and I were engaged,” he said with a smile.
This group is hard-core. They started at 9 a.m. with donuts and talked all the way through lunch where they were served hot dogs. Everyone had their Cardinals clothes on, and nothing was off limits.
“I enjoy the spirited discussions,” said Hammond. “It’s fun to hear the perspectives from our now three different generations.”
They discussed everything from the expectations of the players for the upcoming season, to prospects, trades that worked or didn’t work all the way up to how they like the radio and television broadcasts.
One of the topics that got the most opinions was the broadcasts– and the comments seemed to go with age.
“They used to have ‘that voice’ you could recognize—Jack Buck, or Mike Shannon, and they went back and forth with the television,” said Chris Lineback (shown above with her husband Harmony) Now they have so many different broadcasters. They’ve lost ‘that voice.'”
“They don’t need that any more with all the technology today,” chimed in Rakonick. “We get our games on our phones. There’s no one broadcasting on the phone, you just follow the action as you get it, so it doesn’t matter who does the radio or TV.”
She came back with: “I disagree. I want the broadcast to be about the game. I liked it with the recognizable voice who just told you what was happening in the game at the time. I don’t want to hear who they played golf with last year or who they talked to this week, I want to know what’s going on in the game.”
It was a spirited discussion with everyone chiming in their thoughts and opinions.
“Often the meeting results with a letter being written to the Cardinals with a list of ideas to improve the club,” said Hammond. “Two things that actually happened which were suggestions from one of our meetings: Busch Stadium having the pennants and World Championships painted on the top of the dugouts and having the banners of the Cardinal Hall of Famers displayed in the concourse area.”
They are hoping to reconvene the group in the fall — if the Cardinals go to the playoffs.