Let's Talk: Baseball, 'Wurst' Barbecue Ever and Saving Grant's Farm

A former St. Louis Community College, Meramec baseball coach helps a Cardinal player and shares memories of a former major league pitcher who lives in Crestwood, while a cook has her "wurst" day ever.

Ric Lessman, the former baseball coach at St. Louis Community College at Meremac who went on to coach at Washington University before retiring, was out at the River City Rascals game Thursday night for a fundraiser to help his former player Lonnie Maclin.

Maclin once played for the Cardinals, and has been coaching young baseball players in the area since.

After Maclin had a stroke in January, the Rascals, along with former Cardinal teammate Ozzie Smith, put on a fundraiser to help raise money for his medical bills.

At the event, Lessman was talking about some of the great players he has coached or played with, heaping praise on his old teammate and friend Frank Baumann of Crestwood, who was a pitcher in the major leagues.

Baumann pitched for the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs.

"He is clearly the best athlete to ever come out of St. Louis," Lessman said. "While playing baseball here in St. Louis, he pitched so many no-hitters and then got drafted by the Boston Red Sox—but shortly after that he went in the Army, and it messed with his major league career."

Though Lessman said the time away from the game for the Army affected Baumann's pitching, he still had an impressive career. He had his best year ever with the White Sox in 1960 when he held a 13-6 record and his 2.67 ERA led the American League pitchers. 

Baumann went 45-38 with a 3.90 ERA in his 11-year career which  ended in 1965.

Lessman coached his son Scott Baumann, a standout baseball player at Meremec.

"Scott was a very good player, and after he played for me he got a scholarship to Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State)," Lessman said.

Lessman was part of a group that included former Cardinals Ken Reitz, Ozzie Smith and Ted Savage, all of whom showed up at the Rascals game to support Maclin.

In other news, food historian and award-winning writer Suzanne Corbett had the "wurst" Labor Day barbecue a gourmet cook could have. She decided to see how many different types of wursts she could serve for a meal with family and friends.

"If I include the 'little smokey links' I think I had six different kinds of wursts, which is really just another name for sausage," said the host who went to G & W Sausages, the company that produces Grant's Farm Brats, to find them all.  "I served knockwursts, weisswurst, garlic wursts, Hungarian style wurst and Grant's Farm bratwursts."

And speaking of Grant's Farm, more than 15,000 people have joined the Facebook page for "Save Grant's Farm," the citizens' initiative to encourage the government to approve Grant's Farm into the U.S. Parks Department.

O'Leary's has a "Save Grant's Farm" shirt in their entryway. For information on how you can sign the petition, go to www.SaveGrantsFarm.org.

If you have a tidbit of news, please email the author at WriteAsRains@sbcglobal.net.


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