The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly
On the morning of December 26, 1991 headlines around the world announced the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of the Soviet Union. A few hours later, The Schlafly Tap Room officially opened for business. While most pundits thought our decision to start a brewery in St. Louis was utter and complete folly, lots of local dignitaries came to our opening anyway, in part because we were serving free beer. Twenty years later it can now be said that the date marked the end of an era in eastern Europe and the beginning of another one in St. Louis.
Twenty-seven years earlier, on October 15, 1964, there had been another shakeup in the leadership of the Soviet Union. Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin had coerced Nikita Khrushchev into resigning from the post of Premier. I remember the date because it was the same day the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in game seven of the World Series. The long-reigning Yankees’ dynasty was toppled at the same time the Khrushchev regime was brought to an end. In deference to the sensibilities of any alert readers (ARs) from New York who happen to be reading this, I shall refrain from using the phrase “Evil Empire” or making any invidious comparisons. I should also note that 1964 was a mere bump in the road for the Yankees in their hegemonization of baseball.
I was fortunate to be able to attend game seven that year, which was historic in several ways. It marked only the second time ever and the first time since 1922 that the Yankees lost consecutive World Series. It was the end of a dynasty that included such legends of the game as Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and manager Yogi Berra. It also maintained the Cardinals’ streak of being undefeated in seventh games of the World Series.
Since then I have attended two other seventh games of the World Series, both of which were won by the Cardinals. The three seventh games I have attended were played in three different ballparks, all of which were named Busch Stadium. The 1964 series against the Yankees was played in the stadium at Grand and Dodier that had been known as Sportsman’s Park prior to Anheuser Busch’s acquisition of the Cardinals. The 1982 series, in which the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers (who were in the American League at the time), was played in the downtown stadium known as Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium from 1966 until January 1, 1982, when the name was officially changed to Busch Stadium. The 2011 series, as all ARs undoubtedly know, was played in Busch Stadium III, the current incarnation adjacent to Ballpark Village, which may be a reality by the time Albert Pujols is as old as I am.
Anticipating the inevitable next question, “Well, how old are you?” I am unashamed to say I turned 63 on October 28th of this year. That’s right. As the more alert of the ARs would have figured out immediately, I celebrated my birthday at game seven of the World Series. I really did. According to my back-of-the-envelope statistical analysis, there were probably fewer than 130 other fans celebrating their birthdays in the stadium that night. Given that most of the others would have been younger than I am, my guess is that very few if any of them were witnessing their third Cardinals’ win in game seven of the World Series in as many different ballparks named Busch Stadium. A lot them probably weren’t even around in 1964 or even in 1982. My birthday present from the Cardinals was both unforgettable and unique.
Another component of my birthday present was provided by the good folks at Rahr & Sons Brewing Company in Fort Worth, with whom we had a wager on the series. Because the Cardinals prevailed over the Texas Rangers, our colleagues at Rahr needed to acknowledge our triumph by donning Schlafly garb and toasting the World Series champions with Schlafly Beer outside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I’m honored to provide photographic evidence of their fulfilling their side of the bargain.
ARs with an interest in numerology might find significance in the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th world championship in ’11 by winning 11 post-season games after coming from 11 games (rounding up from 10 ½) behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League Wild Card race in late August. This team’s success story is almost as improbable as that of a certain small brewery that was started in St. Louis 20 years ago.