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.