Looking back: The St. Louis Jewish Light in the 1980s

Editorials take note of Cardinals’ postseason highs (and lows)

St. Louis is truly a baseball town and the 1980s were glory days for the Cardinals. After a dry spell in the previous decade, the Redbird squad appeared in three World Series – and the Jewish Light’s opinion page was there for each one.

“There has been one bright spot for St. Louisans amid all the turmoil and strife dominating the world news headlines recently: Our Champion Cardinals!” wrote the Jewish Light in an Oct. 13 piece lauding the team as they approached the conclusion of their ultimately successful 1982 campaign against the Milwaukee Brewers. “Along with all St. Louisans, the Jewish community shares the pride in our championship team. Go get ‘em Cards!”

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Three years later, the Cardinals would enter the series as heavy favorites against their cross-state rivals, the Kansas City Royals – only to be robbed by an infamously bad umpiring call. The Light, as always, was there to cheer them on.

“There is nothing sweeter to watch than baseball played well, and our St. Louis Cardinals, under the outstanding helmsmanship of Whitey Herzog, have played exceedingly well throughout the entire regular season, and into the playoffs,” wrote the Light on Oct. 23. “Few thrills could match the homeruns by Tommy Herr, Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark at crucial moments in crucial games, or the outstanding pitching by John Tudor.”

There was even a jab at the Light’s journalistic cousin.

“We have no trouble rooting for the Cardinals; we’ll let the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle pull for the Royals,” said the editorial. “But everyone is a winner in this joyous and historic event.”

In 1987, the Jewish Light drew on military metaphors to describe the Redbird’s final series appearance in the decade.

 “With the brilliance of a George Patton or Moshe Dayan, Herzog deployed his battered forces with such daring moves as sending pitchers to right field for a single play,” wrote the Light on Oct. 28. “Undaunted by the many injuries, Herzog kept his eye on the ball and managed to keep his team at the top against all odds from May through October.”

However, it was not meant to be. The Minnesota Twins took down the good guys in seven games. Still, the Light wasn’t a fair weather fan.

“The Twins, who have never won a world championship in Minneapolis, certainly earned their world title,” it opined. “But to St. Louis, the Cardinals will always be ‘number one.’”