For over 60 years the St. Louis Cardinals spent every spring in St. Petersburg getting ready for each baseball season. For 33 years they called Al Lang Stadium home and the team last held spring training in St. Petersburg in 1997.
Since that time they moved over to the East Coast and a home in Jupiter. They had to make room for the Rays, which was part of the contract with Major League Baseball.
Many of those Cardinals teams would go on to win National League Championships and World Series Championships. The Cardinals were a major part of the city of St. Pete from early February through March each year and then with their Florida State League team playing at Al Lang they provided baseball entertainment to the city for at least seven months a year.
For many baseball fans over the age of 40 who grew up in St. Pete and remain Cardinals fans. They fondly recall the days the Redbirds spent many sun-splashed days in March watching their team play.
Many Cardinals fans in St. Pete still follow the Redbirds over the 50,000-watt powerhouse radio station KMOX which still can be heard in St. Pete on a clear summer night.
Those fans got good news this week when it was announced that KMOX will remain the flagship radio station for the 147 station Cardinals Radio Network through 2024.
“We are thrilled to extend our agreement with our partners at KMOX and proud to continue the great tradition of broadcasting Cardinals baseball on the Voice of St. Louis,” Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said in a statement.
The late Jack Buck was loved by St. Pete Cardinals fans and often was seen at many of the different serving as the master of ceremonies for many local charity events. As a matter of fact Joe Buck, his son and now the voice of both baseball and football on FOX was born in St. Pete.
The group of the present broadcast team led by another local fan favorite former player Mike Shannon, leads the group along with John Rooney, Rick Horton and Mike Claiborne, will continue to perform the play-by-play duties.
Stars like Stan Musial, Ducky Medwick, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter are just a few of the names who loved coming to St. Pete every spring.
Yes, in these days of streaming games and getting the games on TuneIn, SiriusXM and MLB All Access all offer easy options for fans to subscribe to Cardinals baseball, they still get the KMOX feed.
The Cardinals and KMOX will always have fans in St. Pete for years to come.