The Webster Groves Statesmen and Kirkwood Pioneers have a storied, historic rivalry as next door neighbors in Suburban St. Louis. Everyone knows about the Turkey Bowl football game, for example.
But for as hard as the teams compete on the field, they have found good ways of coming together off it, and the last week is no example. Tuesday night, the girls soccer teams dueled in the annual battle for the Shapleigh Cup, and as stltoday’s Adam Zuvanich reported, the teams raised thousands of dollars for a Kick for Cancer event.
The varsity baseball squads also found a way to come together Friday, inventing their own way to join Major League Baseball in saluting Jackie Robinson’s legacy. Here’s how Webster Groves Assistant Coach Tony Gilmore explained it:
Our A.D. (Jerry Collins) and myself were looking for a way to celebrate the hiring of our first African-American baseball coach at Webster (DaRond Stovall), and we were looking to tie it into the MLB celebration of Jackie Robinson Day as he is one of Stovall’s idols. We knew we had our annual rivalry game at Ballwin with Kirkwood on the same day the MLB had their celebration. We tossed around the idea of some type of presentation of sorts when the idea of both teams wearing “42” jerseys just like MLB was brought up.
Jerry reached out to MSHSAA and the Umpires association to check the rules, and then to Kirkwood to see if they’d be interested in wearing “42” similar to MLB. To their credit, they were totally on board.
The swapping of jerseys was TOTALLY the boys’ idea following the game. It was so fitting. Coach Shaw (Kirkwood) and Coach Stovall were both completely supportive. I heard a few of the boys say that we’ve started a new tradition to partner with our annual rivalry game at Ballwin…so I guess this is the beginning of the “42 Jersey Swap” game to continue in the vein of so many other great traditions shared by both communities.