What's in a cap?
If it's mine, it's probably a lunkhead.
Seriously, I have gone through hundreds of caps in my 72 years, but none like the one I bought in 1982. It is my most treasured cap from all those that have gone to Goodwill, or by the wayside.
I was sports editor back then and was covering the 1982 World Series. I covered all seven games between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The final game was the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Arriving at the ballpark that afternoon, I stopped by one of the shops in Busch Stadium and bought a Cardinals' baseball cap.
Why? Because, thanks to my Onalaska buddies, Dave and Gary Skogen, I have been a Cards' fan ever since the old Milwaukee Braves won the 1957 World Series. It was the same year I started hanging around with the Skogen baseball boys, who remain die-hard Cardinals' fans to this day. The Braves eventually left Milwaukee for Atlanta in 1966, which cemented my allegiance to the Cardinals even more.
This cap is special. It is made from beautiful red corduroy. It is just what I wanted to remember from the 1982 World Series.
I placed the cap in my briefcase and proceeded up to the press box, not telling anyone about my purchase. After all, we were ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY OBJECTIVE sports writers during working hours, not sports fans.
To make a long story short, the Cards won the game, 6-3, for the World Series title. The Brewers, despite a spectacular season, have not appeared in another World Series.
Watching Gorman Thomas strike out to end the game, I quickly stuffed my note pad, scorebook and game stats in my briefcase, and raced to an elevator. There was only one other person in the elevator. When he turned around, it was "The Silver Fox," "The Duke of Flatbush," Duke Snider, the Hall of Famer for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. We chatted briefly as we descended to the bowels of Busch Stadium.
Finishing my interviews in both dressing rooms, I hurried back to the hotel to write my story, transmit it back to the sports department before final deadline and settle in for a late room-service meal.
As I waited for my food, I called the airport, and then my better half back in La Crosse, telling her my next day's flight was expected to be on schedule.
Realizing Kathy and our only son at the time, Jon, my parents, her entire side of the family, as well as most of my friends were Brewers fans, I told her I was sorry the Brewers didn't win.
Kathy's reply: "Why don't you just stay down there!"
Boy, that old cap Cardinals' holds memories.
What's in a cap?