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Major League Baseball

Ralph Toenjes carries game-used baseballs during an Aug. 16 game from the Cardinals' dugout to the Authentics Shop in the right field concourse of Busch Stadium.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This story was originally published Aug. 22, 2018.

What happens to all those used baseballs the umpires toss out of games at Busch Stadium?

After Keith Duncan of St. Louis submitted that question to our Curious Louis feature, we went to the Aug. 16 game between the Cardinals and Washington Nationals to find out.

That’s where we found Ralph Toenjes hard at work, happily greeting fans at the Authentics Shop, located behind center field. Toenjes sells memorabilia, including used baseballs, fresh from the field. During games, it’s his job to fetch baseballs from the Cardinals dugout every two or three innings.

The grounds crew works on the field at Busch Stadium on March 27, 2019.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

At long last, spring finally arrives for Cardinals fans at 2:30 p.m. Friday when the Budweiser Clydesdales take their annual strut around the warning track at Busch Stadium — a day later than planned.

A rainy forecast for Thursday prompted the Cardinals to postpone their home opener against the San Diego Padres to Friday afternoon. The team promises all the traditional hoopla of opening day, including the Clydesdales and motorcades introducing the 2019 Redbirds and Cardinals Hall of Famers.

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Later this month, baseball fans and writers will react to who is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. How are those players chosen? St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Derrick Goold detailed that process in conversation with host Don Marsh on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Also discussed was the role of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. Goold has written about how Hall of Fame support is building for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.  

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire lifts his 10-year-old son, Matt, after hitting his 62nd home run of the 1998 season on Sept. 8, 1998, breaking Roger Maris' record.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

On Sept. 8, 1998, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire sent a low line drive over Busch Stadium’s left field wall to break Roger Maris’ 37-year-old home run record.

McGwire’s 62nd home run of the season sent the sellout crowd and the city into a frenzy. But for some fans, McGwire’s eventual admission that he used steroids has taken the shine off the record-breaking summer.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

A full story of what ifs and comedies: A history of the St. Louis Browns

St. Louis’ baseball history includes one of the best teams in baseball history, the Cardinals — and the worst— the Browns.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the history of the St. Louis Browns baseball team with Ed Wheatley, one of the authors of “St. Louis Browns: The Story of a Beloved Team.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’ve watched Cardinals baseball in the past 20 years, you know the story of Rick Ankiel, a former pitcher-turned-outfielder who joined the Cardinals organization in the late ‘90s as a pitcher expected to become the next Bob Gibson. He was doing well until 2001, when his pitching became suddenly and conspicuously erratic. No one, not even Ankiel, could identify the reason why.

Alexandra Noboa takes pictures for social media as reporters conduct a pre-game interview at Busch Stadium. Noboa, the Cardinals' Spanish translator, launched the @cardenales Twitter account.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, for the first time in team history, two St. Louis Cardinals' games will be broadcast in Spanish. It’s one of the biggest nods to the local Latino community, and comes during what has been a big year for Spanish speakers in Major League Baseball.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 22, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Opponents of smokeless tobacco scored a base hit in baseball's new labor agreement, but didn't get the home run they had swung for. Instead of a complete ban, the deal would bar players from chewing tobacco during televised interviews, autograph signings and other events where they meet fans.

Durbin urges baseball players to ban smokeless tobacco

Oct 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 18, 2011 - WASHINGTON - As the baseball world prepares for the World Series opening game in St. Louis on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and four of his colleagues are urging players to stop using smokeless tobacco on the field, in dugouts or in locker rooms.

Somebody is going to get seriously hurt

Aug 17, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 17, 2009 - Comedian Bill Cosby, before he began taking himself a bit too seriously, had a routine involving baseball and the folly of the batter being hit by a pitch.

Unlike almost any other major sport, a baseball player can’t “take a play off” after being slightly injured. This becomes quite apparent when he is hit by a pitch.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2009 - Ted Savage played the game of baseball and Mike Claiborne broadcasts the game. Together, they made a fantastic double play combination during an entertaining and educational discussion of African-Americans in Major League Baseball – present and past - on Saturday at the Grand Hall of the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Branch.

A big liar, and a bigger man, face the truth

Aug 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2009 - Two stories broke on Saturday and the men behind them had a chance to tell their side. I believe one guy; I think the other is being less than truthful.

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox announced during a press conference at Yankees Stadium that he has no idea how his name ended up on a list of players that failed a steroid screening test in 2003.

A Flood of golden memories

Jul 20, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 20, 2009 - During my three years with USA TODAY Baseball Weekly, I had the great fortune to attend the annual Rawlings Gold Glove Banquet in New York and report on one of the most exclusive award ceremonies in American sport.

It was black tie and they weren’t foolin’ around. There were no exceptions. Three times, I rented a tuxedo, caught a train and checked into a Manhattan hotel.

All in an All-Star Day

Jul 15, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 15, 2009 - All-Star Week in St. Louis was a thrill a minute – until the All-Star Game was actually played. The home team National League went down to the American League 4-3 in a game that was dominated by pitching and turned on a great defensive play by game MVP Carl Crawford.

Here are some highlights, and low moments, of just another summer Tuesday in St. Louis. Yeah, right.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - President Barack Obama cut an unlikely figure as commander in chief Tuesday afternoon when he descended Air Force One in jeans. The president also appeared to be focused less on the small group of airport greeters than on the older man at his side: baseball great Willie Mays.

Obama took Mays' arm and helped him descend the stairs from the plane's door to the tarmac, where the two then slid into a waiting limousine. The entourage of limos, vans of reporters, Secret Service agents -- and an open jeep with sharpshooters -- then traveled on to Busch Stadium.

All-Star Game dealing is in full swing online

Jul 14, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - As you’d expect in 2009, there’s a robust online market for all things All-Star Game. Ticket holders are asking exorbitant amounts for access to the main event and downtown condo owners are looking to cash in on their prime real estate for the long weekend.

And there’s a whole other layer of resume passing, service offering and deal making that takes place on Craigslist (beyond the casual encounters section, of course) in the days before a major sporting event. Here’s a sampling of what you can find on the popular online classified site:

Fun with family and Hall of Famer

Jul 13, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 13, 2009 - The Reids did FanFest on Sunday, and we did it with style. Mom went shopping, leaving Bryson, Blaine and me to revel in a fantasy world of baseball cloistered in America’s Center.

We pitched, we batted, we fielded grounders and we caught fly balls.

We had baseball cards made with our own photos and stats, played video game baseball and learned how much my Ted Williams’ autographed baseball is worth.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 9, 2009 - As stars like Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard come to town for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, a different sort of show is stepping to the plate at the St. Louis Public Library .

The exhibit -- "Pride & Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience" -- chronicles the history of blacks playing the nation's pastime. Thirty-two panels display a 150-year progression, from the introduction of the game during the Civil War to the present day. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 15, 2009 - If you wonder what former President Bill Clinton is up to these days, you can catch him next Saturday (June 20) when he delivers the keynote address during Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Game weekend in Cincinnati. The game will be televised on the new MLB Network for those with cable or satellite TV.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 25, 2009 - When does the Major League Baseball season really start?

If you ask manager Tony La Russa, he’ll probably say the season is as serious the first day of spring training as it is the final game of the year. So, he’d say the season really starts in February.

All-Star Game ointment won

May 4, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 4, 2009 - If you haven’t viewed Austin, Texas, mayoral candidate Brewster McCracken’s television commercial that totally trashes the city of St. Louis you should find it on YouTube .

You might be insulted, but he says a lot about the past, present and future of the Gateway to the West in 30 seconds, and it is stuff that need be heard.

Sharon Robinson shares her dad with world

Apr 27, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - Sharon Robinson never grows tired of teaching young people about her father. The daughter of Jackie Robinson, Sharon serves as director of educational programming for Major League Baseball. Her duties brought her to Busch Stadium on a sun-splashed Thursday afternoon last week.

St. Louis fantasy baseball firm tosses shutout vs. MLB

Jun 3, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - The Supreme Court was not expressing an opinion on the legal issue when it decided without comment to turn down the appeal by Major League Baseball. But the action effectively ends the suit in which Major League Baseball and the Players Association joined forces against C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing, the parent of CDM Fantasy Sports of St. Louis.