Photographing a Great Day in St. Louis Baseball History
The day the Cardinals hired a legend, Barlow was there.
It was June 9th, 1980. Current manager of photography Bill Sawalich was just five years old, but Ron Barlow was well into his career that day when he was summoned to “the big house” at Grant’s Farm. That’s where, on the back porch, August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr. would be announcing the new manager he’d just hired to run his baseball team.
Ron captured the tremendous chemistry between a beloved team owner and his new hire, future hall of famer Whitey Herzog. Gussie and Whitey shared a beer, and clearly hit it off in an instant—as Ron’s photos show.
“I have an owner who’s the greatest man in the world,” Whitey would say later, “and I want to win a world championship for him.”
This image, of Gussie and Whitey toasting to their mutual good fortune, has graced our studio wall for years. But Ron made several other fine photos that day. The portrait of Whitey above is dripping with good ol’ boy charm, and the shot of Whitey holding forth—no doubt on baseball and beer—is practically perfect as well.
According to Ron, at one point that day Gussie disappeared into the house for what Ron assumed was more beer. In fact the boss of the world’s biggest brewery returned with a quart of Jack Daniels, which the group commenced to polishing off—the photographer included.