More than just a Hall of Fame, this museum documents the history of baseball in St. Louis. Early exhibits are dedicated to the Negro League teams who played here before Jackie Robinson, who, with the help of former Cardinals manager Branch Rickey, integrated baseball.
Another exhibit includes a set a bleachers under a dark night sky. A scratchy black and white film replays the game from June 4, 1940, against the Cleveland Indians – the first night game played at Busch Stadium.
Other artifacts include Stan Musial’s first contract with the Cardinals signed in 1942 guaranteeing the Man $750 a month for his unparalleled ability to hit a ball.
There’s also the very first construction paper cut-out of a red cardinal sitting on a baseball bat that eventually became the official logo.
From Game 6 of the 2011 World Series is the jersey David Freese was wearing when he hit that 11th inning walk-off home run. True Cardinals fans remember why it is ripped to shreds.
For the generations of Cardinals fans growing up with a red bird on their clothes, those who cannot imagine summer without a game at Busch, the exhibit about the Knot Hole Gang is especially poignant.
Back in 1917, the team began giving away tickets to kids who couldn’t afford tickets, who simply watched the game through the knot holes in the wooden fence. The kids dragged their parents to the games, over and over again until the Cardinals Nation was born – a collection of sports addicts that Sports Illustrated and others have called “the greatest fans in baseball.”
This is their museum.
Located on the second floor of the Cardinals Nation Restaurant in the Ballpark Village.