Compiled by Staff
Rick Horton was the special guest at the STLSportsPage.com annual Spring Training Baseball Bash. Horton is starting his 19th season broadcasting with the Cardinals, most of those years on the television side but this year he will be full-time on the radio game broadcasts with the retirement of Mike Shannon, but he will continue doing some pre or post-game with television. Horton is also the Metro Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in St. Lous.
The party was held on Tuesday March 15th at the Homewood Suites in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and was the ninth event put on by Rob Rains and company to provide a fun event for fans and raise money for Rainbows for Kids and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
This year’s event almost didn’t happen when MLB announced the cancellation of two weeks of Spring Training games. The party usually involves fans coming over after the Cardinals games– all dressed in their Cardinals red. During the lockout questions arose as to whether many Cardinals fans would be in town and would it be better to cancel the party. When all was said and done, the event organizers didn’t want to disappoint the fans who had built their trip around the date of the originally scheduled party.
So they got together with Homewood Suites Sales Director Elise Robinson and Manager Marcus Urban (shown at the barbecue grill) to plan a gathering on a smaller scale– just a happy hour at first but as word got out that we were still having it they found there were actually many Cardinals fans still. here at the Homewood Suites, who had been planning to attend.
They decided to make it a barbecue on the patio with a small, more limited silent auction.
Fans got to bid on autographed baseballs signed by Ozzie Smith, Keith Hernandez, John Stuper and Dave LaPoint. There was also an autographed photo of Adam Wainwright and a signed Wainwright t-shirt.
Urban did the barbecuing and what better meal for a baseball gathering than hot dogs and hamburgers. All of the food was free and included macaroni salad, chips, salad and cookies along with beer, wine, and bottled water.
Everyone attended received a goodie bag. Ruth and Hank Jones from Washington, Missouri were among those at the party. They had been in town all week before the settlement was announced and spent their time in their Cardinals red watching the minor league practices.
The fans enjoyed hearing all the baseball stories that Ricky Horton shared, including when he played for Whitey Herzog and his feelings on the new Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. He likes Marmol very much. They also took questions and discussed the current team.
This video contains a little of the discussion.
The event turned out to be an overwhelming success as one can see from the photos. There was Shirley Browne, a 98-year old Cardinals fan who who actually remembers watching Dizzy Dean pitch. She was having the time of her life, listening to all the Cardinals talk. Horton seemed honored to take a photo with her.
It was so fun when everyone found out about her and she got a nice round of applause. She won an attendance prize– a Yadier Molina pillow.
Another photo op came with Brian Garner of Imperial, Missouri, who we have featured in past articles for his unique wooden leg that he get autographs on.
He came up to Horton, who at the time did not realize Garner was using a prosthetic leg.
“Can you sign my leg?” Garner asked and promptly hoisted his leg up on the table for the former pitcher turned broadcaster to sign. Garner was honored to get that autograph, as shown in the photo.
The charities will benefit from the generous bidding from those at the party, all of whom seemed very grateful that the party went on despite the difficulties along the way. It was held outdoors. John and Connie Kurowski of Belleville, Illinois, shown in the photo with Rains and Horton, had been over at Roger Dean Stadium watching practice with their family before coming to the party.
It was reminiscent of the 2020 Baseball.Bash which was held on the day they shut down spring training due to the coronavirus. At the time, no one knew about wearing masks so it was a room full of enthusiastic Cardinals fans just enjoying themselves. There was no party in 2021 due to the virus, but since this year’s party was held outside no masks were required.
There were three families at the party who had traveled to spring training from Dexter, Missouri: the Hills, Hytens and Holdens. They didn’t all come together but met up at the party. Shirley Browne was at their table and while she remembered watching the Gas House Gang, Jim Hall remembers seeing Satchel Paige pitch.
An award for family who came the furthest to the event went to Barb, Terry and Rick Boegel, who planned their time around the party, traveling all the way from Canada to watch the Cardinals at spring Training.
After the question and answer period and the baseball discussion, Horton walked around and visited with the fans and posed for photos.
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