1973 – Joe Garagiola Home
St Louis Cardinal Catcher / Broadcaster
While I was attending the Tony Lema Memorial Golf Pro-Am golf tournament on Marco Island in the summer of 73 I had an encounter with Joe Garagiola. Before the tournament started I was walking on a sidewalk when this cart came darting out from the cart shed with 2 golfers on it. The one closest to me and not driving was Joe. He was laughing at how bad the driver was driving as they almost ran into me. They were clearly going to have a good time.
I followed Pete Elliot who had been the University of Illinois' football coach for several years while I was attending in the 60s. for several holes and several others until I decided to follow Bud Allin, a young golfer new to the tour who had just won the Florida Citrus Open the last weekend and was on a hot streak. As he came up 18 he was 6 under and about to win.
I spotted Joe and his erratic driver friend sitting in the golf cart having a good time yukking it up. They must have finished playing and were sitting off to the side on 18 all by themselves. I think they must have been lit up a little.
I thought maybe I would go over and tell Joe what a big St. Louis Cardinal's fan I was and how I had listened to Harry Carrey and him for years. As I approached I heard them joking about who this golfer was coming up with the big gallery and then about who this yokel who was approaching them.
Instead of mentioning the St. Louis Cardinals I just said hi. They asked me why the big gallery and I told them that Allin had won last weekend and he was 6 under and about to win this tournament. All of the sudden they stopped joking around and got real serious watching him finish the hole. Joe seemed like he would be a good natured fun guy to hang around with, but I felt a little guilty for ruining their fun that day.