There to greet him at his final stop in Herrin, Illinois, was Herrin's own Ray Mileur, the publisher of the Fox Sports/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals' website at www.thestlcardinals.com.
The Secretary of State, a long time Cubs and Cardinal fan (he's a politician) was recently in the radio booth with St. Louis Cardinals' radio play by play man Wayne Hagin and loves to talk baseball.
The Secretary was surprised when Mileur mentioned him being on the air with Hagin, "You remember me in the booth?", he asked.
"Sure Mr. Secretary" Mileur replied. "September the 6th, the Cardinals against the Cubs, you can look it up, I did." both laughing it up for the cameras.
Before the festivities began, "The Secretary and I are going to talk a little Cardinal baseball after his announcement today." Mileur said, adding "I'll be presenting him a Two Time NL Central Division Championship t-shirt and a copy of Jack Buck "Forever a Winner."
Mileur continued "It's this time of year during the post season that I think back on the great history of the St. Louis Cardinals and how I miss Jack Buck. For me and millions of baseball fans everywhere, Jack Buck was and will be "Forever a Winner."
I can remember as a child listening to my transistor radio and hiding it under my pillow when mom came to check on me, and the voice I listen to was Jack Buck's. To me he was like part of my family.
Our website, the Birdhouse was designed to do basically three things, "Preserve the Past", "Promote the Present" and "Project the Future" of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Often I'm called upon to speak and days like today I'm very pleased to help "Preserve the Past" by making this presentation, in the memory of Jack Buck to Jesse White, who is someone who I think is "Forever a Winner".
Prior to his election as Secretary of State, Jesse White served as Cook County Recorder of Deeds — a job he was first elected to in 1992 and re-elected in 1996. Before that, he served 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly, representing the most culturally, economically and racially diverse district in Illinois.
In 1959, White founded the internationally known Jesse White Tumbling Team to serve as a positive alternative for children residing in Chicago's Cabrini-Green and Henry Horner public housing communities. Since its inception, more than 8,400 young men and women have performed with the team. White has spent more than 44 years working as a volunteer with the team to help kids stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol and smoking, and to help set at-risk youth on the path to success. The program has received international praise.
White served our country as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard. He played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization, which was followed by a 33-year career with the Chicago public school system as a teacher and administrator.
Jesse White earned his bachelor of science degree from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) in 1957, where he was a two-sport athlete earning all-conference honors in baseball and basketball. In May 1995, White was inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. He was an all-city baseball and basketball player at Chicago's Waller High School (now Lincoln Park Academy) and was inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June 1995. In 1999, he was inducted into the Alabama State University Sports Hall of Fame. Born in alton, Illinois, he now lives on Chicago's near-north side.
Today I want to remind people that Jesse White is a winner and what it takes and what it means to be "Winner". When I think of life's winners, I can't help but think about Jack Buck.
To many, Jack Buck was baseball. Several generations of devoted Cardinal fans considered the warm, deep tones of Buck's voice the very essence of summer. In this book, Buck's family shares an inside look at the man they shared with the world.
In addition to making "Forever a Winner" award presentations, in an effort to serve baseball fans, we often donate Cardinal related books to local libraries and the book, Jack Buck "Forever a Winner", is a favorite of our staff and Cardinal fans everywhere.
We are more than happy to help supply small libraries in need, with St. Louis Cardinals books for their readers to enjoy.
Request from librarians for materials can be made through our website at www.thestlcardinals.com.
Mileur's final remarks to the Secretary as they were both leaving, with a big grin, "You should have been a Cardinal."