November 2, 2023 is the 75th anniversary of the only election in which a Missourian was elected President of The United States. As some alert readers (ARs) know, Harry S. Truman became President on April 12, 1945 with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but was not actually elected to the office until three and a half years later.
Nineteen forty-eight had been a busy year for President Truman. He had already overseen the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II; instituted the Berlin Airlift following the Soviet blockade of the German capital; recognized the newly established State of Israel; and ordered the elimination of racial segregation in the American armed forces. With all this behind him , five days before the election, on the morning of October 28, 1948 Truman held a campaign rally in Fall River, Massachusetts.
As Truman was exhorting his supporters in Fall River that morning Karen Tokarz was born in a nearby hospital. On the same morning, at 9:37 Central Standard Time, John Cullerton was born in Chicago; and one minute later I was born at 9:38 CST in St. Louis.
Earlier in October of 1948 The Cleveland Indians had defeated The Boston Braves in The World Series. This was the first World Series to be televised on a national broadcast network and the last to feature a player/manager (Lou Boudreau of the Indians). ARs who follow baseball are of course aware that neither of the participating teams still exists. The Indians have been transformed into The Guardians; and the Boston Braves have moved twice and are now rebranded as the Atlanta Braves.
As of this writing, the winner of the 2023 World Series has not been determined, but we know it will be a team that did not exist in 1948. Not only did the Diamondbacks and Rangers not yet exist; there were no Major League teams anywhere in either Arizona or Texas. For that matter, there was no MLB team anywhere west or south of St. Louis.
In the intervening years since 1948 Karen, John and I have all become lawyers. Karen, whom I met playing coed softball 45 years ago, joined the faculty at Washington University Law School. John, my law partner in Thompson Coburn’s Chicago office, went into politics and served as President of the Illinois Senate from 2009 to 2020. As most ARs know, I chose a different form of public service from higher education and public office and went into the beer business 32 years ago.
When John happened to be in St. Louis for business in early October, the three of us decided to have an early celebration of our shared birthday at The Schlafly Tap Room. At the time we were all aware that there would be no post-season baseball in St. Louis in 2023. There would, however, be post-season soccer directly across the street at CityPark.
Knowing, as we now do, that St. Louis City will be playing our cross state rival Sporting Kansas City, I would like to welcome fans from Kansas City to The Schlafly Tap Room. If Harry Truman were still alive, I suspect his allegiance would be to Sporting KC, but he too would be welcome. Truman (unlike Presidents Trump and Biden, who refuse to drink alcohol) was known to start the day with a shot of bourbon after his morning walk. I can easily imagine “Give ‘em hell Harry” bellying up to the bar at The Tap Room before and after matches with his fellow Missourians from St. Louis and Kansas City.
Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery