Cairo holds claim to Cardinals past

Cardinals held Spring Training in Cairo in 1943

CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - A Heartland city holds claim to a piece of St. Louis Cardinal history not many people know about.

Folks in Cairo still remember when the Cardinals, including legend Stan Musial, came to town for spring training in 1943.

"So we flirted with them and took them up to Macs for a coke," Alice Johnson said.

She said it was an exciting time for her, getting to be up close to the Cardinals just after their World Series win the year before.

"Everybody would go down and watch them practice," she said.

When the St. Louis Cardinals landed 70 years ago, Johnson wasn't the only one flocking to the field to get a glimpse.

"For that one year it was special it was like a month, or a month and a half, circus, carnival atmosphere around here," Fred Shelton said.

Shelton remembers being five years old and idolizing the Cardinals.

"When a ball player would come to town, everybody knew it," he said.

Now, it's these ball players that add to this city's history.

"They would go out to the field over here," said Alice, who lived just blocks from where the Cardinals practiced.

Where the competition wasn't just on the field.

"I had a car so I could drive around," she said, referring to the time Stan Musial climbed into her car to grab a bite to eat.

More than that, the folks in this town say it's a piece a history they will think about with every pitch thrown in this year's world series.

"I know they say it's a long time ago, but it's history, baseball history and history of the town," Shelton said.

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