April 16, 2006 - 3HR Game Including Walk-Off HR

I'll admit this game was purely personal for me. I've told the story before but am a proud husband married to a devoted Cardinals fan and I never tire of the details of this game. My wife was attending the last game of her incredible 1,870 consecutive game streak at Busch Stadium (II and III) which started on April 27, 1983 and concluded on April 16, 2006. It was fairly easy to attend each game from our home in Clayton but she had to travel from California for the last 10 years of the streak (it's too long a story).

Anyway, a friend of ours asked if we wanted to sit in the owner's box seats for the last game which was a really nice gesture. It turns out the friend had set my wife up for a special send off. Before the game started, Tony waved to my wife which we thought was just his way of appreciating the support of the fans. Later, Mark Lamping and Bill DeWitt, Jr came by to congratulate my wife on her "accomplishment." These were terrific ways to finish but paled in comparison to what Albert and Tony did during and after the game.

Tony, obviously in on the details of the streak, carried on a non-verbal communication with my wife during the game following each of Albert's first two HRs. In the bottom of the ninth, trailing 7 - 6 to Cincy, Tony called out to Oquendo to get a ball from the ballboy on the field. Tony gave the ball to my wife and told her he hoped this would be a "game-winning baseball." Jason Marquis (a pitcher for those who don't remember him) got a lead-off pinch-hit single, Albert followed with a walk-off 2-run HR, his third of the day. (I believe it was the TWIB's "best game" of 2006). Tony then came over to my wife and gave her a high five before he went on to the field to greet the players.

Hollywood could not have written such an unbelievable, ridiculous script but every bit of it is true and will remain with us forever. Post-script: Years later, I sent Tony THE ball and he added many of the details from the game along with his signature. He was a truly special manager in St Louis and a fine individual who was much warmer personally than most of us know.