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One of the best things about living in St. Louis is the rivalry between our Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Whenever I hear people from Boston or New York talk about the great rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox, I remind them that our rivalry with the Cubs is much older. It goes back to 1885, 16 years before those self-important teams from the northeast ever met on the diamond.
Although I am a loyal Cardinals fan, I must admit to having some connections with the Cubs. Many years ago, before the Cubs won their most recent World Series in 1908, they had a second baseman named Larry Schlafly. He was a very, very distant relative. He also wasn't very good and may have done more harm than good for the team.
More than a century later the son of my former secretary is pitching for the Cubs. Unlike Larry Schlafly, Randy Wells is one of the best players on the team. Having followed his career since he was at Belleville East, I have watched Randy progress from high school to the major leagues, making the transition from catcher to pitcher along the way.
In all candor I view his success with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it's exhilarating to see a talented young man work hard and succeed at such a high level. On the other hand, it's difficult to overcome the antipathy for the Cubs I've been nurturing for twice as long as Randy's been alive. While it may be possible to convert a catcher into a pitcher, as happened with Randy Wells, it's definitely not possible to convert a true Cardinals fan into a Cubs fan.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Tom Schlafly is an attorney in St. Louis.