This is my easiest decade for a top five. After graduating high school in 1980, I needed a summer job. I had seen the guys wearing Costello Usher caps at the Arena and Busch Stadium, and thought I’d like to do that. After looking up Costello Usher service in the Yellow Pages, I went to visit Don Costello. He saw I was a big guy and asked “when would you like to start.” The Cardinals were playing that night, and I said “how about tonight?” Don got me a pair of dark blue pants with yellow stripes on the side, a Costello cap that looked like a police hat, told me to wear that stuff with a white shirt and I was in.
I worked the rest of the 1980 season, then got to work the ’81 season as the Cardinals had the best record in the division…but didn’t make the playoffs because of the stupid split season.
I got to work the field for the ’82 playoffs and World Series…I was at ice level when Mike Crombeen scored a double overtime goal to beat Pittsburgh in game seven, I was on the field when Garry Templeton went off on the fans and when we learned about the Keith Hernandez trade. And that was BEFORE I got into radio.
Here are my top five of the 80’s-
1) Cards win ’82 World Series.
Amazingly, it never occurred to me that the Cardinals might lose, even when they came home down 3-2 to the Brewers. John Stuper’s magnificent game six performance between rain delays in game six still sticks out to me. So does Darrell Porter hitting a blooper down the left field line to increase the Cardinal lead, and of course Bruce Sutter strking out Gorman Thomas to win it all.
2) My radio career started as an intern at KMOX in 1983. On my VERY FIRST NIGHT, we got word that the Baltimore Colts had traded the top pick in the draft, John Elway, to Denver.
My immediate boss, Lisa Bedian, put me to work. It was AWESOME. Fortunately, I had an idea of what to do. We handled that story really well, and I was on my way.
3) The finale of the ’84 Cardinal season. The best post-Coryell Big Red team missed the playoffs by a field goal. In an incredible game at RFK Stadium, the team that won also won the NFC East. The Cardinals trailed 23-7 at the half, but Neil Lomax
passed for 468 yards, about 360 of those in the second half, as St. Louis rallied for a 27-26 lead. Washington drove to a Mark Mosely field goal in the final minute, but Lomax and the Cardinals didn’t quit. Neil O’Donoghue lined up for a 50 yard field goal that had no chance of being good from the time it was kicked. That off-season, Bill Bidwill announced that he wanted a new stadium, and that was the beginning of the end. If the Cardinals had won that game and won that division, the Cardinals would have never left.
4) After the 1984 baseball season, the Cardinals had a chance to sign closer Sutter, but didn’t. Instead, he went to Atlanta. The Cardinals were picked to finish last in the division, even though they had traded for Jack Clark and John Tudor. Whitey Herzog was reportedly on the hottest of hot seats. In the first week of the season, outfielder Tito Landrum got hurt, and the club brought up unknown left fielder Vince Coleman.
That’s when the heat was turned on. The Cardinals literally ran to 101 wins and knocked off the Dodgers in the NLCS before falling to Kansas City in the World Series. That’s still my favorite baseball season ever.
5) I remember so many flashpoints from that decade. The USA hockey team
beating the USSR in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Mike Tyson
knocking out Michael Spinks in the first round of their heavyweight championship in 1988. How about Kirk Gibson’s walk off home run in game one of the 1988 World Series?
Or Joe Montana’s comeback for the 49ers against Cincinnati in 1989?
An amazing decade in sports, and an amazing decade overall. The 80’s were awesome.