A few times a year I am asked why this blog is called Viva El Birdos. The answer to that question is both simple and also a bit complex. The short, simple answer is Orlando Cepeda made it up. Cepeda was only a Cardinal from 1966 through the 1968 season, but as many of you know, those were some pretty successful seasons for the team. He was able to make a lasting impression in those few years. 1967 was an especially good year as two wonderful things happened: The Cardinals won the World Series and “El Birdos” was born.
The two things are not necessarily unconnected. Per William Legget in the Setpember 4, 1967 issue of Sports Illustrated:
Cepeda walked to the front of the group and raised his huge right fist into the air. “El Birdos!” he hollered. “Yeah!” went the team. “El Birdos!” he shouted again. “Yeah!” they chorused. Once more Orlando raised the cry for El Birdos and the Birdos answered, “Yeah!” According to ritual El Birdos must be shouted three times after each victory...
While this is a really fun thing to discuss, there is a reason I bring it up. Today would be Herman Franks birthday. VEB’s own Greg Ratliff wrote about it earlier. In 1967 Herman Franks was the manager of the San Francisco Giants, a team that ended the year in second place, 10.5 games behind the Cardinals with 91 wins. Apparently, Orlanda Cepeda had a final part to his “El Birdos” cheer, and it went something like this, per Legget:
...According to ritual El Birdos must be shouted three times after each victory, and then Cepeda puts the zinger in, like “[redacted] Herman Franks.” At this spot the Cardinals really holler, “Yeah!”
Happy birthday, Herman Franks!