ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals, in partnership with the mayor of St. Louis, kicked off a season-long celebration of Lou Brock on Tuesday with the unveiling of a new #STLisLou campaign that will concurrently celebrate the city and raise money for children with diabetes.
Similar to what the Cardinals did to honor Red Schoendienst last season, the organization is encouraging fans to share videos, written messages and/or photographs about what Brock means to them using #STLisLou. Brock, who spent 16 seasons of his Hall of Fame career in St. Louis, was recognized prior to Tuesday's game against the Cubs as part of the campaign's kickoff.
"It's sort of overwhelming," Brock said. "I never thought in a lifetime that something like this would happen."
The timing is apropos, too, given that it was Chicago that sent Brock to St. Louis as part of a now infamous 1964 trade.
Leading up to Tuesday's pregame ceremony, the Cardinals will be posting hourly messages for Brock on their social media accounts. The recognition comes following a tumultuous offseason for Brock, who lost part of his left leg after an infection was complicated by his diabetes. He spent more than three months in the hospital due to surgery and the ensuing rehab.
"Of course you prepare to get on the highway to the path of wellness and healing," Brock said. "You don't expect all this to happen. I wasn't so sure I could do all this in the first place. And once you find out that you can do it, then you have the challenge to do it and the old juices from the past start to rise up in me and I can do this. When you look at the people who got involved to give you their support, lend you their support, offer their support, it was just overwhelming."
"Lou Brock is not only one of the greatest players to play for the Cardinals, he is also one of the nicest men to have ever worn the birds on the bat," team president Bill DeWitt III said in a prepared statement. "Our fans selected Lou Brock as one of our Franchise Four, honoring him as being one of the most impactful players in Cardinals history, so we have no doubt that they will seize the opportunity to share their affection for Lou via social media this season."
But this campaign isn't just about honoring a Cardinals legend. It's also about celebrating St. Louis, which is why Mayor Francis G. Slay and other civic leaders are joining the season-long initiative. The Cardinals have partnered with Explore St. Louis and Downtown STL to host a weekly scavenger hunt that will introduce fans to unique spots in the city while giving them a chance to win tickets and Brock autographed baseballs.
"No person better embodies the spirit of our city or the importance of the Cardinals to St. Louis than Lou Brock," Slay said. "Lou Brock is St. Louis and St. Louis is Lou, so we hope everyone in the 'Lou will join us in celebrating Lou all season long."
Commemorative #STLisLou buttons will be worn by area hospitality workers to show support for the campaign and raise awareness for the #STLisLou fundraising efforts. The Cardinals will sell the buttons for $5 and donate all proceeds from those sales to help the fight against diabetes.
"The campaign itself means that people really care and at the same time they are honoring you for something that you did," Brock said. "But I think it goes beyond that. They are showing support through love."
For more information on the campaign and you can get involved, visit cardinals.com/lou.