Nov. 19, 2009
By Bruce Madej, U-M Associate Athletic Director of Athletic Media Relations
ST.LOUIS, Mo. -- They tell us the world is getting smaller. Technology has made it easier to communicate with individuals all over the world. Businesses are now working in a global economy. And transportation makes it easier to get from point to point.
When one makes a trek outside Ann Arbor like I did last night to the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies, it reminded me of the breadth and depth of U-M athletics lore and its reach throughout the nation and the world.
Dan Dierdorf, the legendary offensive lineman for the Wolverines and the St. Louis (football) Cardinals, and Red Berenson, the iconic hockey coach and player for both U-M and the St. Louis Blues, were both honored during the Hall's inaugural ceremonies.
Dierdorf was one of 20 individuals enshrined into the new Hall of Fame, while Berenson was honored for his special achievement -- the first NHL player to score six goals in one game.
On top of their accomplishments, what Michigan people need to know is the love the St. Louis fans have for our two Michigan men and how these two honorees credited and talked about the University of Michigan.
Berenson was truly the first Blues superstar. And Dierdorf? Well, what can you say about this giant of a man on the field, in the booth and off the field.
And while I blended into the night with the two U-M men in discussion with the other great names in St. Louis sports history, I noticed that while it was their night, they didn't really need the spotlight on themselves. They had more fun talking about others, their great love for the city of St. Louis, and, of course, Michigan.
As the gala affair at Millenium Hotel was about to begin with more than 1,400 eager St. Louis sports fans, Dan came down for the dais, and his daughter and former U-M women's basketball player Katie rushed to the Michigan table just before the start of the ceremonies, making us wonder what was up.
It wasn't about the Dierdorf family. It was all about St. Louis Hawks basketball legend Bob Pettit and his ties to Michigan.
Pettit told Dierdorf of a picture of the very first Michigan football team and his grandfather, Albert Pettit, who was a member of that squad. Dierdorf was busting at the sides, telling us the story and how proud Bob Pettit was of his grandfather.
When Dierdorf told Pettit he was going to tell the "Michigan people", Bob laughed and said how he hoped the story was indeed true after all the years of hearing and telling the story of a Michigan man in the Pettit house.
Of course, everyone at our table never heard the story, and indeed the story is true: Albert was on that 1879 team.
(Albert Pettit in top right in back row)
While the legendary Michigan men Dierdorf and Berenson were honored during the evening affair, the legendary Wolverine tree continued to grow, finding that another great athlete has ties with Ann Arbor dating back to the 19th century.
Indeed, it is a small world, and the more we know, the more we find the small world is no different than it was decades ago -- at least for the University of Michigan.
CHARTER MMEMBERS OF THE ST. LOUIS SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Stan Musial (Baseball)
Honored as the "St. Louis Athlete of the Century"
Jackie Joyner Kersee (Track and Field)
Honored as the St. Louis Female Athlete of the Century
Larry Wilson (Football)
Bernie Federko (Hockey)
Bob Goalby (Golf)
Harry Keough (Soccer)
Jack Buck (Broadcaster)
Jimmy Connors (Tennis)
Yogi Berra (Baseball)
Whitey Herzog (Baseball)
Dick Weber (Bowling)
Red Schoendienst (Baseball)
Lou Brock (Baseball)
Ed Macauley (Basketball)
Bob Gibson (Baseball)
Dan Dierdorf (Football)
Bob Pettit (Basketball)
Ozzie Smith (Baseball)
Jackie Smith (Football)
Roger Wehrli (Football)
The Star of the Game Award
Hall of Fame Award of Champions
2007 & 2008 Washington University Men's Basketball Teams
Community Service and Humanitarian Needs Awards
Albert Pujols Foundation
St. Louis Championship Team Award
1948 Saint Louis University Basketball Champions
President's Choice Award for Special Achievement
Buddy Blattner & the Buddy Fund
Sports Performer of the Year
Members of the Old-Timers Class
Rogers Hornsby (Baseball)
Frankie Frisch (Baseball)
Joe "Ducky" Medwick (Baseball)
Henry Armstrong (Boxing)
Red-letter night for St. Louis Blues great Red Berenson (stltoday.com)
St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame (KMOX.com)