The Sliding Scale of Former Cardinals First Pitches…
When a player retires from Major League Baseball, he becomes eligible for a variety of post-career honors.
While not ball player is destined for the Hall of Fame of Retired Number ceremonies, the first pitch has become a standard mechanism across baseball to pay tribute to player that once wore the team colors.
It’s not an exact science, but you can usually map a player’s organizational influence to the current Major League player that catches the first pitch. Not *every* player is honored as Willie McGee and Bob Gibson were at the inaugural Busch Stadium game, throwing first pitches to ’05 MVP Albert Pujols and ’05 Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, respectively.
Some get Skip Schumaker.
Then again, some get…well, this…
Poor Joe Cunningham.
Seven seasons in the red and white (’54-’61), a .413 OBP over that time and All Star Game appearance in ’59.
And now, throwing first pitches to a freaking mascot wearing an over-sized glove.
I don’t know how Joe Cunningham’s slider is these days, but I would have used this as an opportunity to see if Fredbird does, in fact, wear a protective support.