Sunday, April 14, 2024

Around The Card Room, Take 17

I got my first job was pushing in carts and bagging groceries at the Dierbergs in Manchester, Missouri during my junior year of high school. Bagging groceries was not very difficult, but I always seemed to end up on shopping cart duty for long stretches of my work shifts. St. Louis summers are hot and pushing in dozens of carts at a time in 95 degree heat with high humidity got old quick. I could have gone back to the grocery store for a second summer, but opted for a more interesting summer job my senior year of high school.  

My mother always played the organ at church when I was growing up. She had a long stint at a church in west St. Louis County where she also served as the choir director. My senior year of high school, one of her choir members had a son who lost his wife to cancer. The family had three children, two boys in elementary school and a daughter who was a two. Needless to say, the family needed some help, especially during the summer when the kids would be out of school. 

Long story short, I was pretty good with kids back in the day before I worked as a teacher. I did some volunteer work around the church with little kids and also did a high school senior project where I went back and worked with my former fifth grade teacher to help out struggling readers. I had one five minute interview where I met the father and the three kids after church and was hired to be a "manny". 

So long grocery carts.

I spent my summer playing games in yard, watching movies, bowling, and swimming. The kids taught me about Nintendo and I tried to teach them about baseball and baseball cards. It was a fun job that I ended up keeping from my senior year of high school through my senior year of college. I do not want to linger too much on the kids, because this is a post about an item from my card room. Let's just hit fast forward and say that all three of them are successful, amazing adults.

One of the best parts of this job was an invitation to the Boeing Leadership Day at Busch Stadium, which is where the father worked. The Cardinals hosted the event annually and would station eight to ten players around the concourse of the stadium a few hours before the game and Boeing employees could walk the concourse, meet the players, and get autographs signed.  

I deferred to the kids on the players we visited and I could have used several different baseballs here for this post, but I went with my favorite. 

Darryl Kile.  

As we walked the stadium and visited the different players, you could always tell the ones who enjoyed interacting with fans and which ones did not. Some of the players would chat up fans, take pictures, and sign everything and anything. Others kept their heads down, signed, and had limited interactions with the fans.  

Darryl Kile was great at the event and definitely fit into the category of being a player who was happy to interact with fans. He signed my baseball on the sweet spot without even asking. I do not really like talking up players at autograph events, but I made sure that I thanked him after he was more than generous with the autograph. 

I got a "You're welcome" and was off to see Fernando Vina.  


Here is the back, err, the front of the baseball.  

 Look at that Mark McGwire bat in the background.  

Bet that has a good story too.  


  1. I've only had two jobs I really, really, really disliked. One was scooping ice cream at Thrifty's (everything else about that job was fine... but I hated the endless lines during the summer). The other was working at a grocery store as the "cart" boy. Never had the opportunity to be a "manny", but it sure sounds like it was a sweet gig.

  2. I can't help but thinking while reading this that it's amazing how much of a positive impact you've had on your fellow humans vs. how little I've had. In the end, one of us is gonna be judged much more favorably than the other, and it won't be me :(

    Have you kept in touch with those kids over all of these years then?


Around The Card Room, Take 17

I got my first job was pushing in carts and bagging groceries at the Dierbergs in Manchester, Missouri during my junior year of high school....