This Week in STL Sports Birthdays

16
May
2011

May 17
Cool Papa Bell (1903)
The Negro League legend started his career with the St. Louis Stars in 1922 and ultimately died in St. Louis at the age of 87 in his home that is located on what is now called James “Cool Papa” Bell Avenue. 

According to the oft-recited legends, Cool Papa was so fast he could flip the switch in his bedroom and be under the covers before the lights went off, so fast on the basepaths that he once hit a line drive that buzzed past pitcher Satchell Paige’s ear and hit Cool Papa in the leg while he was sliding into second, so fast that he scored from first on a bunt and so on. 

He sort of became the Chuck Norris of his time.  Except Chuck Norris doesn’t have a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Pascual Perez (1957)
Pascual Perez really has nothing to do with the city of St. Louis, but I felt his birthday was notable only because of his hair in the 80′s…

May 19
London Fletcher (1975)
When the Rams signed an undrafted linebacker from a D-III school in 1998, there wasn’t exactly a buzz amongst the fans.  Then we got to watch him play football’s version of centerfield for the most memorable four-year stretch in franchise history. 

Needless to say, London Fletcher became a household name amongst those who followed the Rams.  In 2002, Mike Martz was essentially forced to make a choice between two unrestricted free agents – Fletcher and Leonard Little.  He went with Little, a decision no one can second guess considering Little’s success as a pass rusher, but it’s also safe to say he couldn’t have gone wrong with Fletcher either.  


 
Brandon Inge (1977)
In 1982, we had Gormon Thomas striking out against Bruce Sutter as the lasting image of the World Series victory.  In 2006, we had Brandon Inge whiffing at an Adam Wainwright curveball serving the same role.  Just know that we appreciate your contribution to Cardinals history, Brandon. 

May 20
Kenny Boyer (1931)
Speaking of Cardinals history, when you look out to the left field wall at Busch and see the #14 retired, you’re looking at the number Kenny Boyer wore for 11 years.  The most notable of those was his 1964 season, when he took home the NL MVP award manning third base for the eventual World Series champions. 

Boyer’s number is the only one retired in honor of a player who has not been elected into the MLB Hall of Fame. 

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