On December 7, 1980, the Cardinals came to terms with Darrell Porter. The backstop would be making his way across the state from Kansas City, and he would prove to be worth the $3.5 million five year deal that made him the highest paid catcher in all of baseball. He took home the World Series MVP award in 1982, and he also helped the club get to the Fall Classic in 1985.
The move for Porter was just one of many that Whitey Herzog would make, as he retooled the organization in rapid fashion. The acquisition led to the departure of a fan favorite in Ted Simmons, and was a move that could be looked at as a domino being knocked down that sent the rest of the dominoes tumbling. The article featured in the picture was published a week after Porter came to terms with the Birds. It mentions some of the subsequent dominoes that fell, as the "White Rat" built himself a contender. The trades and acquisitions that Herzog made were just as important, as the decisions he made from the Cardinals dugout. He built more than a contender. He built a championship squad. The move for Porter was simply the beginning of something special.
Something that I have hoped to touch on at some point is the substance abuse issues that Porter had later in life. It is something that ultimately took his life. For many years it looked like he was able to overcome his addiction issues, then he made a fateful choice to do cocaine in 2002. That choice killed him. He was just 50 years old at the time. While I do not know the majority of you, I will disclose that I too have had addiction issues in my life. In fact, I will be five years clean and sober this coming February. This page would not exist if I had not changed the way I was living. The reason I put this is because I believe that having an addiction issue is not something a person should be ashamed of. After all we are all human, and we all have our flaws. I am currently working toward obtaining a degree that will help me help others who are trying to beat addiction, so this very important to me.
Darrell Porter should forever be celebrated in Cardinal Nation. Today is not a day to remember how it all ended, as much as it is a day to remember what he did while wearing the Birds on the Bat. With that said, if you or someone you know is trying to beat an addiction do not be afraid to reach out to those who will help. If you feel like you do not have someone to reach out to send the page a message, and I will do everything in my power to help you find the help that is needed.