I left my very first Cardinals game hugging on tight to my new seat cushion even though virtually everyone else had flung theirs onto the field in celebration. I was too young, too far away from the field to join in the fun. And it had the Slugger Bird logo on it so I didn’t really want to get rid it anyway. That seat cushion is still somewhere at my parents’ house, and I’m not against being buried with it.

I like this stuff. I don’t go out of my way to collect Cardinals memorabilia, and if it involves standing in a line or dealing with a large, unruly crowd then it would be fair to say I actively avoid it. But I am bad at throwing things away, even if it never should have passed the “Do I really need this?” test in the first place. Take this stuff, for example.

1. A single Cardinals thunderstick

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Completely useless by itself yet that is somehow an improvement on the product’s intended purpose. I acquired this on my last trip to Busch Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2005, a 4-2 win over the Mets. Jeff Suppan homered. I have no idea what happened to the other one.

As for this one, I’ve had ample opportunity to throw it away. Leaving the stadium. Departing St. Louis the following morning. Moving to an entirely different time zone. But nope, it is still here taking up our oxygen. It serves zero purpose and I wouldn’t even call it that great to look at.

Where is it now?

Proudly displayed in the window sill in our television room.

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2. A lapel pin commemorating Mark McGwire’s four consecutive 50-home run seasons

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I don’t remember the exact evening, but I picked up this Southwestern Bell sponsored artifact during a giveaway at a game in 2000. Of his many impressive feats, Mark McGwire was also the first player in MLB history to hit 50-plus home runs in four consecutive seasons when he finished 1999 with 65. (Appropriately, Sammy Sosa became the second member of this club in 2001.)

It’s not that bad, I guess. But I don’t need it, I don’t wear it, of course, and by just lazily splashing four “50s” in a row (instead of 52 58 70 65) McGwire is being cheated out of 45 home runs. They could have done better.

Where is it now?

The same window sill, just below Lou Brock’s Hall of Fame feet.

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3. Cardinals 2011 World Series hat

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This is likely the only thing in this post that a lot of you also own. I was at Games 6 and 7 in 2011 and during the couple of weeks that followed, I felt the need to purchase any piece of World series clothing that I could find, including this hat. And…

Still true. And that’s fine. Ugly hats are a rite of passage when your team wins the World Series. If I recall, it was a pretty cheap online purchase anyway and one can never have too many reminders that the Cardinals did win the 2011 World Series so it was probably worth it.

Where is it now?

Buried under a bunch of other hats that I like better.

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4. An unopened box of Cardinals cookies

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This is the worst one. I don’t remember when I got these, but if I had to take a stab at it I would say they are from a game in the late-90s or early-00s…and for whatever reason I didn’t open them. I all of a sudden wasn’t hungry? I thought maybe they would be valuable some day?? I dunno. But if the Cardinals win the Pennant this season I’m eating them.

Where is it now?

On the window sill, acting as a paperweight for some homer-hankies.

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5. Ozzie the Movie on VHS

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This might be the only item depicted here that I will probably never throw or give away and honestly it might not even qualify as memorabilia. The local video store (Video Escape, if I recall) had this film and I rented it repeatedly after it came out in 1987. It’s a low budge production (to put it mildly) – a Lawrence Miller movie/Philo video if that rings any bells – but half of the film is Ozzie highlights so it’s worth every penny. The other half is interviews with various players, fans, and Mickey Carroll, who played one of the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz.

I had forgotten about Ozzie the Movie until around 2000, in college, when a friend was at the Super Wal-Mart buying beer and he returned to tell me that they were selling a bunch of VHS tapes, including one called Ozzie, which he thought would pique my interest. Sensing I knew exactly what he was talking about, I immediately bummed a ride and bought it. I think it cost $5.

Unfortunately, I no longer have a VCR so I haven’t watched Ozzie the Movie in years, but most of the film is on Youtube if you want check it out.

Where is it now?

In a closet with a bunch of DVDs (most of which I never watch), not far from a 25-year-old unopened box of Wheaties.

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