Note: This post is part of a larger project curated by the United Cardinal Bloggers network. We thank Cardinal 70 for the invite.
I don't think it's any secret that, as a semi-regular poster on BertFlex, I get my share of dinner invites from the world's large and in charge. HMW? Yeah, I've broken pizza with him. Sir? Yep, I've witnessed the devastation.
But what if the tables were turned and I got to invite four figures of Cardinals lore to dinner at a fine local establishment like Shannon's (no need to reimburse me for the free pub, Mike)? Who would make that most exclusive of guest lists?
1. Albert Pujols. You're familiar with this blog, right? He's kind of the axis on which this whole thing spins.
2. Branch Rickey. The Mahatma has to be there. Without him, there would be no farm systems. And without farm systems, where would Petey Kozma be? Sucking it up for some beer-league softball team instead of High-A Palm Beach, that's where.
3. Jack Buck. Nothing cute here. I miss his voice and would love the opportunity to hear it one more time.
4. Bob Uecker. With all those luminaries, I need someone there who can make me feel better about myself. ... Wait a sec, I'm talking about the guy who played Harry Doyle in Major League. I can't compete with that.
Of course, you have to have some backup plans in case any of the above are otherwise occupied. Making that list: Stan Musial (I'm earning a larger piece of real estate in Hell by leaving him out of my top four, I know), Ozzie Smith, Jose Oquendo, Mark McGwire (yes, Mac, some of us still like you -- especially those of us on the juice), and Bob Gibson.
Unfortunately, dining with any of the above (hell, even Jose DeLeon) seems unlikely. I guess I'll just have to settle for that one storied day when I ran into Anthony Reyes and Brad Thompson at Chipotle.