Monday, March 30, 2009

Baseball Place No. 39: Ozzie's Restaurant and Sports Bar

I’m not sure a restaurant counts as a baseball place. I suspect there are a lot of them where the athlete is paid by some folks to throw his name on the sign as a lure.

But Josh Pahigian seems to like them, and we’re going to start hitting some food spots as we continue our tour through his “101 Baseball Places to Strike Out.”

Josh picks “Ozzie’s Restaurant and Sports Bar” in St. Louis as spot No. 39, and, for the second post in a row, I can happily report there is no alternative.

And the occasion for our visit was indeed a happy one, and had nothing to do with the Cardinals’ Hall-of-Fame shortstop.

Ozzie’s is located in Westport Plaza, a sprawling shopping, dining and hotel area

Ozzie keeps his Gold Glove Awards on display at his restaurant.

Tony, my long-suffering, exceedingly patient college roommate, was getting married in a hotel in the complex. I had the honor of being in the wedding party.

How special is Tony? There is a slight chance I was a high-maintenance roomie.

I fully recognize that had I been paired with a lesser person, I would have come home to the dorm one day and found my Mets jerseys, New York posters, Twisted Sister tapes and bike out in the hall with a note saying “scram.” No one would have blamed him.

I think God puts people into our lives at certain points for a reason. Tony was and is a quiet role model and spiritual adviser. Which is not to say that there was not mischief coming out of Floyd Cramer Hall Room 4.

When my son was born in 1992, I could think of no better person to be his Godfather.

So that weekend in January, 2000 was a special one.

And an unusual one, too. Missouri is not really a snowy place, at least not in the time I went to college there.

But that weekend it was positively dumped on. And unlike Michiganders, St, Louisians don't deal with it well.

It was also the week that the Rams were to appear in the Super Bowl for the first time.

St. Louis is every bit the baseball town you’ve heard it is. The football Cardinals left after the 1987 season, and I think it was two seasons before anyone noticed.

But having a football team head to the Super Bowl got people semi-excited, and I remember one of the hotel ballrooms was converted into a Super Bowl store.

There is always a little down time before a wedding, and the snow prevented my usual pilgrimage to the glorious Arch. So my wife and I walked around Westport Plaza, and there was Ozzie’s.

I don’t recall much about it, other than seeing the massive display case with his 13 Gold Glove Awards. That sight alone makes for a worthwhile visit.

I didn’t see any of Ozzie’s World Series rings, but we did get to see some other rings exchanged that day, which was much more exciting.

Tony and Cathy, his beautiful bride.


Steve J. Rogers said...

Too bad Rusty's is no longer in operation. Wonder if either of his two locations would have made the cut.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

All I can say, Mr. Rogers, is keep reading! We had some eventful times at Rusty's.

Pat said...

I took my wife to Ozzie's for our anniversary some years back. Sports bar anniversary dates, bad idea.

A better choice is StL is the Italian restaurant in downtown. It has a ton of baseball photos and stuff on the walls. Can't remember the name.