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Cardinals care, the winter Blues, and Hope for children

In the heart of winter many people in St. Louis hope for a winter warm-up and look forward to a sunny spring ... and baseball.

Saint Louisans love baseball, and their home team has for many years returned that loyalty with acts of charity. The St. Louis Cardinals baseball club has a long tradition of reaching out to the community, especially in providing comfort and care to children. In 1949, in the midst of another close pennant race, members of the Cardinals visited St. Louis Children's Hospital.

In the next photo, a young Stan Musial hands a baseball to a Children's Hospital patient while Terry Moore, manager Eddie Dyer, Nippy Jones, and Enos Slaughter look on. The patient was at Children's Hospital to have a congenital heart defect surgically corrected. A test developed by Wendell Scott of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology - called a 'rapidograph' - allowed doctors to visualize blood vessels in the heart helping surgeons make a successful plan for the repair.

While the Cardinals would eventually lose the National League pennant race to the Brooklyn Dodgers by one game that year, this new technique developed at the Washington University Medical Center would go on to save the lives of children from around the world who came to St. Louis for surgery.

For those who still relish in the winter chill and who think ice is the coolest playing surface in the world of sport, the St. Louis Blues ice hockey team is for them. The Blues have also been constant in their commitment to the community. In this photo Bob Plager, Phil Roberto, and Garry Unger autograph hockey sticks while visiting St. Louis Children's Hospital, circa 1972.

But not all supporters of Children's Hospital and the Washington University Medical Center have been great athletes. One of the greatest benefactors was legendary entertainer and comedian, Bob Hope.

A frequent visitor to St. Louis Children's Hospital over the decades, Hope was no stranger to the golf course. "Golf is my profession," he once said. "Entertainment is just a sideline. I tell jokes to pay my greens fees." While he loved to play, he always talked about his golf game with self-deprecating humor. He joked that Arnold Palmer once told him how he could cut eight strokes off his score, "skip one of the par 3's."

Hope hosted a number of fundraising events in St. Louis for Children's Hospital, including a golf tournament. Here he and professional golfer, Lee Trevino, watch a putt by Julie Nixon Eisenhower, circa 1970.

The Hope Foundation of St. Louis Children's Hospital was established in 1961 in his name. Bob Hope was a big supporter of charities and causes throughout his life. He is famously quoted as saying, "If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."

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