Written by Chris Hrabe
“You think you can take me?!?”
Lou Brock pushed his index finger into the chest of my colleague, staring at him intently.
“Do you think, you can take me?”
Back to that in a moment…
Whenever we lose someone, especially in the world of sports, I think it’s natural to rush to social media, and share a personal moment or a memory.
Is it self-indulgent? Perhaps.
But there’s a common thread in our heroes that gave us moments we can’t wait to share. Lou Brock, like so many St. Louis sports heroes, provided moment after moment, for so many people. If you grew up rooting for the Cubs, like I did, you knew Lou as the Hall of Fame half of “Brock for Broglio.” One of the greatest of all time, a Cub for fleeting moments, shipped to the rival Cardinals, where he became one of the best ever. But Lou Brock was (and still is) more than one of the best players in Major League Baseball history.
Lou Brock was one of us.
Lou Brock is St. Louis.
You saw him at the grocery store. He was a guest of honor at every “rubber chicken dinner,” as they’re affectionately known, even when he should have been at home resting. And he was at Busch Stadium year after year, even after having his left leg amputated from the knee down, striding towards home plate to shake the hands of his fellow Hall of Famers, with the crowd erupting as if he was stealing home plate in front of our eyes once again.
Lou will ALWAYS be St. Louis.
My Dad tells a story about flying to Spring Training to see me shortly after I started working at KMOX in 2014. Lou Brock was on my parents flight. He was unassumingly sitting in coach, and from the moment the plane started to board, to the moment the wheels touched down in Florida, Cardinals fans approached Brock.
He signed every autograph, spoke with every fan, and his smile never left his face. Even the flight attendants could only watch and smile.
Lou was one of them.
When the plane landed, even in Palm Beach, Florida, my parents watched as Lou gracefully worked his way through the terminal. He shook hands, greeted shoe-shiners by name, and traded jabs with employees who called out to him.
Lou will always be one of us, forever.
“Do you THINK…you can TAKE me?”
My colleague was frozen for an instant.
We were standing outside the Cardinals clubhouse, and Lou had arrived at camp.
For those 30 seconds or so, time stood still. Lou patiently waited, not an instant too long, and then broke out into his trademark grin, and unleashed a howling laugh.
“Oh, I’m just messing with you! You’re my buddy!”
I’ll never forget that moment.
And St. Louis will never forget Lou.