ST. LOUIS — Opening day, always a festive occasion in St. Louis, was a little melancholy this time around. There was no Stan Musial for the first time in many years.
The Cardinals' opener Monday against the Reds was the first game at Busch Stadium since Musial died in January at age 92 after years of declining health.
Pregame ceremonies were mostly a tribute to The Man. Musial's four children unveiled a marker on the leftfield wall honoring their father: his No. 6 inside a red circle with his signature across it. Fans stood, many with hats over their hearts, during a video tribute.
The national anthem paid homage to Musial's passion. It was performed by harmonica players with the Gateway Harmonica Club, of which Musial was an honorary member.
Activities also included two pep rallies outside the stadium. Inside, the Budweiser Clydesdales circled the warning track followed by the parade of Hall of Famers in red Mustangs and wearing red blazers: Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Whitey Herzog. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by two members of the 2006 championship team, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds.
Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals, his 3,630 hits split evenly with 1,815 at home and on the road. He won seven batting championships and three MVPs and played on three World Series winners.
In other Cardinals news, 3B David Freese was activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing the first six games with a strained lower back.
WRIGLEY RENOVATIONS: The Cubs and the city of Chicago appear close to announcing a long-awaited $500 million renovation project for Wrigley Field. "I think it's going in the right direction," team chairman Tom Ricketts said. "I think we've worked through a lot of issues over the weekend. I'll just leave it at that."
SIR PAUL IN SEATTLE: Paul McCartney will perform the first public concert at Safeco Field on July 19. The former Beatle will play at the Mariners' home during his "Out There" tour that includes a May 18 date in Orlando.
BLUE JAYS: 1B Mauro Gomez was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox and optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
BREWERS: LF Ryan Braun returned to the lineup after missing three games with spasms on the right side of his neck. … LHP Chris Narveson went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left middle finger.
RED SOX: RHP John Lackey, who left his start Saturday with pain in his right arm, probably will miss his next start. An MRI exam showed inflammation but no biceps tear.