He is nothing like we have had in St. Louis lately: Jason Heyward is big, strong, athletic and yes, African-American. The last African-American starter for the Cardinals was Reggie Sanders back in 2005. Four years ago, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Heyward was considered the consensus No. 1 MLB prospect. Why not? He has a rocket right arm, arguably the best in baseball. He has incredible range in right field. He could be the best defensive outfielder in the game right now. Not many in history have two gold gloves by the time they are 25 years old. He also is fast enough to steal 20 bases a season.
He doesn’t appear to have much in common with big-time head coaches: He doesn’t wear $1,000 suits, he doesn’t try to act slick, he isn’t arrogant. Kim Anderson is about the nicest guy you are going to meet, and he is the future of Mizzou basketball.
Dawn Allen, Frank Cusumano
Whitey Herzog will turn 83 next month, but you wouldn't know it. The man is everywhere: You see him at Cardinals games, you hear him on the radio, and you can meet him at the Whitey Herzog Youth Foundation Golf Tournament.
He played against the greats of the game. He is one of the greats of the game. Last month, it was all confirmed in Canton. Aeneas Williams was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It surprised no one. When you go to eight Pro Bowls, make the 1990s All-Decade team, and intercept 55 passes and score nine touchdowns, you are worthy.
Andy Benes, Frank Cusumano
I recently called around to a few local golf courses, and opened up the conversation by asking, “I’m looking to do a story on the oldest golfer in the area, do you have anybody who might qualify?” The responses were usually that they used to have a really old guy, but he passed away or just stopped playing because of his health. Then, at Westwood Country Club, the head professional, Daryl Hartig told me without hesitation, “Oh, do I have the right guy for you!”
So, this was the scene: In the spring of 1986, Pattonville was hosting De Smet in the district final. De Smet led 2-1 in the sixth. There was a man on second and two outs. DeSmet elected to pitch to Scott Cooper, who had homered earlier in the game. Bad idea. Cooper hit the ball 400 feet on the track by the football field. Pattonville won 3-2.
Frank Cusumano, Andrea Griffith, Trish Muyco-Tobin with representatives from Charity Awards winners Rx Outreach, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Doorways
Frank and Monique Cusumano, John Siefert
If you factor in everything Jim Hanifan—who spent 30 years overall in the NFL—has done, he is the most distinguished professional football coach in our town’s history.
Gary Kolarcik, Frank Cusumano
Kids today are spoiled. When I was growing up, the Cardinals went without a post season from 1969 ‘til 1982. The Cardinals have been to the post season ten times since the year 2000. Kids expect it. They think if the Cardinals are not playing in October, there must be something wrong.
Frank Viverito is trying to bring back another Final Four to St. Louis. But the stakes have changed: The event transcends sports. The city of Dallas estimates that they will have an economic impact of $276 million at its Final Four this year.
Of all the people playing professional sports in our town, Trevor Rosenthal may be the most gifted. And by the end of this season, he may be the best closer in baseball. LN contributor Frank Cusumano caught up with him in Jupiter.
Expectations have followed him everywhere. Whether as the second pick in the NHL draft in 1993 or when he was traded for a popular All-Star like Brendan Shanahan, Chris Pronger knew he had to perform. Some cave under the pressure, but Pronger thrived. All he did was make six All-Star games, win two gold medals at the Olympics, a Stanley Cup, a Norris Trophy for being the top defenseman, and a Hart Trophy for being the Most Valuable Player.
Chris Sloan grew up in St. Charles County and already has a lot of life in 31 years. He began it by developing into the best basketball player in Francis Howell North history, scoring almost 1,900 hundred points and leading the school to its only Final Four appearence. At Saint Louis University, he started more than 100 games for three years. He scored 700 points, grabbed 400 rebounds and dished out 150 assists. The 6-foot, 7-inch Sloan was a coach's dream for Lorenzo Romar and Brad Soderberg.
Of all the people who have ever played high school football in our area, I think what T. J. Moe did his senior year stacks up against anybody—anybody. Read closely: At Fort Zumwalt West in 2008, he scored 61 touchdowns. That is not a career, that is a single season. Only Roger Maris has had a more impressive 61. Moe threw for 2,557 yards, and he ran for 2,029 yards. Throw in a perfect grade point average and a pretty good basketball career, and you have a pretty nice high-school experience.
In almost every sport, bigger is better. While there are plenty of examples of guys who are not tall who have thrived, it's just a little easier if you are blessed with size. Johnny Hellweg was blessed with size.
The best pitcher on Planet Earth right now is from our town. Max Scherzer is throwing a baseball better than anybody in the world. He's the pride of Parkway Central. He was a standout there, but nobody anticipated this: Scherzer leads the American League in wins and whip, and is second in strikeouts. He is the winningest pitcher in baseball in the last two years.
You see his name often in the paper. And usually, there is just a number after it, like 68 or 69. That guy is Skip Berkmeyer, and he is to local golf what Tiger Woods was once to professional golf.
Brandon Bollig is the first St. Louis-area high school kid to have his name on the Stanley Cup. Just imagine how many kids have grown up playing hockey in our town's history, but there is only one with his name on that trophy.