99-year-old World War II veteran throws out first pitch at Busch Stadium

Veteran Cpl. Clarence Adelhardt threw out a memorable first pitch at Busch Stadium with 45 relatives in attendance. (Fox Sports Midwest)

The St. Louis Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest have made it a yearly tradition to honor veterans with Military Appreciation Night at Busch Stadium and their This One’s For You telecast. This year was no different, and it provided several memorable moments for veterans who served and their families.

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Among those moments was a ceremonial first pitch that’s impossible not to get emotional watching. Clarence Adelhardt, a 99-year-old veteran of World War II and longtime Cardinals fans, was called upon to deliver the pitch, and did so with incredible spirit as the crowd showered him with their appreciation.


According to Fox Sports Midwest, Adelhardt served in the 7th Armored Division under Gen. George S. Patton. He was with Patton during his march through Europe, and was on the battlefield for two of the most important battles during World War II.

Veteran Corporal Clarence Adelhardt was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and served in the 7th Armored Division. He is a veteran of the Battle of Metz and the Battle of the Bulge. He returned to Troy, Ill., after the War and worked as a farmer. Adelhardt is a longtime Cardinals fan, and his 100th birthday is July 20. He watches most games on TV, but last night’s was his first in person in several years. His favorite Cardinal is Yadier Molina. In fact, he says the Cardinals need “six more Molinas”

You find many Cardinals fans who would argue with that point about Molina.

Friday’s honor was a big deal to Adelhardt for several reasons. As noted, he’s a loyal Cardinals fan, so being on the field at Busch Stadium was quite a thrill. But sharing that moment with 45 family members over five generations was the biggest thrill of them all.


Friday night was definitely a special one at Busch Stadium. We take our hats to the Cardinals for their continued support and acknowledgement of our veterans, and to Veteran Cpl. Clarence Adelhardt for his service and spirit.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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