Cardinals stream Lou Brock’s private funeral service

St. Louis Cardinals

ST. LOUIS – The funeral for Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock was riddled with kind words from family members, teammates, close friends, current Cardinals players and members of the Cardinals organization along with musical tributes.

The funeral began shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson.

The service began with a few prayers and then a video. Brock’s family spoke at the end of the service thanking everyone for their outpouring of love.

The first video played had Will Dewitt Junior as the lead-off speaker. Dewitt spoke fondly of Brock. He said in conversations leading up to the building of the Lou Brock statue outside of Busch Stadium that although Brock was a prolific base-stealer, he was most proud of his hitting with over 3,000 hits. Dewitt explained that that’s why the statue of Lou Brock at the corner of 8th and Clark Street is of him at-bat, instead of sliding into a base.

Willie McGee came on the screen next and spoke of their time as teammates. Then it was Matt Carpenter who said Brock was “the greatest lead-off hitter to ever wear the birds on the bat.”

The funeral begins at the 107th minute.

Albert Pujols also spoke in the video of how Brock was always visiting spring training.

Rickey Henderson’s widow, Pamela, said “he’s at home base with the Lord.”

“Man this is just one really really special human being,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright came up on the screen with two of his daughters, one on either side of him. Wainwright said Brock was one of the first people he met at Cardinals spring training.

“He set the bar for us Cardinal players on how to act professional and how to be encouraging at all times,” Wainwright said.

The video ended with Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s business agent and friend. He said Brock’s greatest accomplishments were off the field. “You touched a lot of bases in life, but you touched many more hearts,” Zitzmann said.

Once the video was over there was a musical tribute and then another video was played. This one was highlights from Lou’s life, during his baseball career and after.

Mike Shannon spoke inside of Greater Grace Church and he said Brock was fearless, to never mess with him on the field because Brock was a fierce competitor.

Al Hrabosky, the mad Hungarian, got up on stage next and spoke about his time as a babysitter for Lou’s kids. Babysitter Hrabosky didn’t go too well. Hrabosky said that night ended with Lou Brock’s daughter Wanda breaking her wrist.

Ozzie Smith came to the podium and read a message from Bob Gibson. The message read in part, “losing Lou is like losing a member of my family,” Gibson wrote. “While I was in St. Louis we won three world series and without Lou maybe none.”

“Lou was always a leader,” Smith said. “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course, and chart the course he did for the St. Louis Cardinals.”

Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro League’s Baseball Museum, drove from Kansas City Saturday morning to be at the funeral.

“It strikes me that a man who committed larceny 938 times is being welcomed into heaven. If he can steal that much and get into heaven, there is hope for me,” Kendrick said.

KMOX Radio Sports Director Tom Ackerman stepped to the podium and said Lou and Jackie were always the last to leave a charity event.

“Lou is finally free of pain, but he is forever with us to heal ours,” Ackerman said.

Michael McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis then honored Brock by telling the congregation that the organization has created a Lou Brock Scholarship to honor his legacy.

Brock’s longtime public relations agent, Charlotte Ottley, honored Brock and read the condolences.

Then it was time for members of the Brock family to begin to say their last goodbyes. The Brock children were called to the podium, Wanda, Lou Jr., and Emory.

“On behalf of the Brock family we want to extend our appreciation for all of the prayers you sent our way and for all the love and adoration you have for our father that you have shown for so many wonderful years,” Wanda Brock said.

After another musical tribute, Jackie Brock, Lou Brock’s wife for almost 25 years, took to the podium. She spoke of his transformation into a man of god and their ministry.

“25 years of challenges, of hard work, of many sacrifices, but blessings overflowing,” Jackie Brock said.

She then retired his minister robe that matches her own, just as the Cardinals retired his number 20 at the end of his MLB career.

“His spirit has been ushered into heaven,” Jackie Brock said.

The Cardinals have set up an online page to honor Lou Brock. It allows fans to share any personal tributes they have.

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About the St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of Major League Baseball’s iconic franchises. The team with the “Birds on the Bat” have won more World Series titles than any other National League club, and are second only to the New York Yankees overall.

St. Louis has been home to a National League franchise since 1892, but the franchise wasn’t known as the Cardinals until 1900.

Behind future Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby, the Cardinals won their first World Series in 1926 over the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees. The ‘Gashouse Gang’ era Cardinals dominated the 1930s thanks to Dizzy Dean, Johnny Mize and Joe Medwick and won the 1934 World Series.

Did you know that Branch Rickey, who would later rise to fame for bringing Jackie Robinson to the Major Leagues and breaking baseball’s color barrier, invented the minor league farm system we know today with the St. Louis Cardinals? It was Rickey who built a system of affiliate teams to grow talent that would later shine in St. Louis. In the 1930s and 1940s, that system produced the likes of future Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst and Enos Slaughter, all of whom won World Series championships for the Cardinals.

The Musial-era Cardinals would later give way to a new generation, and it was Bob Gibson and Lou Brock who helped bring the World Series back to St. Louis in the 1960s. Gibson had one of the most dominant seasons in baseball history in 1968. He was so good baseball lowered the mound the following year.

The 1970s saw the end of the Gibson and Brock years, the trade of Steve Carlton to Philadelphia and the arrival of Keith Hernandez. Hernandez would share the 1979 NL MVP award with Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell.

For the Cardinals, the 1980s could be summed up in a single word: Whiteyball. Behind Manager Whitey Herzog, baseball in St. Louis became synonymous with speed, stolen bases and defense. Shortstop Ozzie Smith was acquired from San Diego, and with Hernandez, second baseman Tommy Herr, a rookie outfielder named Willie McGee and closer Bruce Sutter, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series over the Milwaukee Brewers. After Hernandez would dealt to the New York Mets, that core of players, along with slugger Jack Clark, would get the Cardinals to two more World Series trips that decade.

The 1980s saw the end of the Gussie Busch ownership era for the Cardinals. When he died in 1989, the Anheuser-Busch brewery took over after nearly 40 years under his watch.

In 1996 the brewery sold the club to the ownership group still led today by Bill DeWitt, Jr. The DeWitt family brought in former Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa, who would go on to be the winningest manager in team history. With another former Oakland hand running the front office in Walt Jocketty, the team acquired Mark McGwire from the A’s in 1997. The slugging first baseman would break Roger Maris’ single-season record for Home Runs in 1998 in a chase with Sammy Sosa that captivated the nation, only later to be tainted by the use of performance-enhancing drugs that McGwire admitted to years later.

In 2001, a young rookie named Albert Pujols burst on the St. Louis scene. Playing all over the field, he was the runaway winner of the National League MVP, setting the stage for the most dominant decade of offensive performance ever seen in a player’s first ten years in Major League Baseball. Catcher Yadier Molina came on board in 2004 as the Cardinals made their first World Series appearance since 1987. Two years later, a rookie pitcher named Adam Wainwright would fill in as the closer on a club that won its first World Series since 1982.

The Cardinals’ third World Series appearance in eight seasons may have been the most improbable when it came in 2011. A team that was left for dead at the start of September managed to roar into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season behind the pitching heroics of Chris Carpenter down the stretch. Once in the playoffs, the legend of David Freese was born. Freese, a St. Louis County native, won the National League Championship Series MVP by slugging three home runs against Milwaukee. Then in the World Series against Texas, down to the team’s last strike in what would have been a Rangers clincher, a Freese triple tied the game. A Freese home run in extra innings forced a Game 7, which the Cardinals won, bringing an 11th World Series crown home.

Albert Pujols left via free agency in the offseason and LaRussa retired, but the Cardinals kept moving forward, reaching the 2013 World Series against the Boston Red Sox with former catcher Mike Matheny now managing the club. In some respects, the Cardinals are still recovering from what happened October 26, 2014, when outfielder Oscar Taveras, considered a potentially generational talent who could have become the face of the franchise, died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

The Matheny era would last 6.5 seasons, until he was replaced by current manager Mike Shildt in 2018.

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