When I was a little girl in New York, I learned how to say "Red Schoendienst" almost before I could really talk.
My "Papa Louie" loved the Redhead, even though he played for his beloved New York Giants for just one season.
Doing a column on my days at Busch Stadium last week, it ended on a sad note.
Schoendienst, a Cardinals icon and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, passed away at 95.
Well into his 80s, he still was wearing his full uniform and hitting fungos (grounders) during batting practice. I met him many times through the years -- on one occasion here in our tri-state area at a prostate cancer workshop.
Red's death was announced on June 6 at the stadium before the third inning and he was given a standing ovation.
The Cardinals were playing the Marlins and I was able to conduct some interviews in the locker room and the dugout. First, I met Jedd Gyorko, who primarily plays third base for St. Louis.
"It's always exciting to put on that uniform and get ready to beat the other team," said Gyorko, not a cocky jock but a man who seemed happy to see me and was quite pleasant.
I spoke with John Brebbia, a relief pitcher who had a personality that kept you laughing. I asked him if he had kids because Father's Day was coming up.
He said he had a feline child named Scout. You could see that he adored that cat. Brebbia comes from Massachusetts. I told him that he should have been on the Boston Red Sox, but at least as a Cardinal he is in red. I told him it looked good on him and he laughed.
"I try to get back (to Massachusetts) whenever I can," he said. "But I'm happy here."
I responded if we all had Major League salaries we could fly back to where we come from anytime we wanted to.
Unlike other reporters, I am usually lucky enough to have a few minutes alone with Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny.
Because he's from Michigan, I began speaking to him about hockey. I had met him quite a few times at Busch and so he had no objection to speaking. I told him that a hockey goalie once told me that there is a similarity between playing goalie and catching in baseball.
"There is a stress level, however, we are not as covered as much," Matheny said. "We wear plenty of protective gear, but are not nearly as loaded up as a goalie."
On the subject of hockey, he told me his daughter, Katie, played the game and was a center at Ohio State. He went on to say that he did not get nervous watching her, because she knew what she was doing. Now, Matheny said she is married to "a great guy and she is now Katie Harris."
Cardinals General Manager Mike Girsch talked about how top prospect Alex Reyes was injured again -- after one start -- and is out for the season.
Being a Mets fan, I never dreamed I would establish a relationship with their arch rivals. But because of Red Schoendienst, perhaps "Papa Louie" would approve.