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Cardinals unveil new website for team's museum

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 4, 2012 - Oh, those St. Louis Cardinals.

They. Just. Won't. Go. Away.

Here it is, just days before that big Super Bowl thingy -- when Whozit will play Whatzit at Wherever -- and the Cardinals public relations office is sending out press releases about a new website for the team's Hall of Fame and Museum.

Are they trying to steal some of that gridiron thunder or do they just want to aggravate bosses throughout Cardinal Nation who finally have employees focused on reports and spreadsheets -- instead of come-from-behind victories and all that drama over who's coming, who's going and who's on first?

The website has several "virtual" exhibits, including one devoted to Stan Musial, and collections of videos related to Hall of Famers and the team's 11 world championships. Just perfect when you need a little break from you-know-what.

According to the Cardinals, the museum has 15,000 items and more than 80,000 archival photographs making it the largest of all team collections and second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

If you're interested in Cardinals history -- and name a Redbird fan who isn't -- you'd best bookmark this web page since the "virtual museum" offers the best chance to take a look at all of this great stuff. The bricks-and-mortar museum closed in November 2008 and is slated to be included in the first phase of Ballpark Village, the long-awaited mixed-use retail, office, residential and entertainment development promised for those 10 empty acres north of Busch Stadium.

In the video welcoming visitors to the website, Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III says the team has invested more than a million dollars over the last 10 years to beef up the museum's collection. He also hopes fans will enjoy seeing the items on the website so that when the new museum is finally ready people will be excited about seeing the items in person. When that might be, he didn't say.

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.
Kristen Hare