Working in Joplin with the Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals arrived in Joplin ready to work on Monday, led by manager Mike Matheny, team president Bill DeWitt III and hitting coach Mark McGwire. The Cardinals were also joined by members of the Springfield Cardinals, St. Louis’ minor-league team.

St. Louis Cardinals raise a wall in Joplin.

Like the other sports teams, the Cardinals neighborhoods has five homes sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the workers managed to raise the walls and roofs for all five before the day was over. Temperatures did not reach as high as previous build days held by other Missouri sports teams, though with highs in the 90s, water bottles and sweet tea being dispensed from golf carts was a welcome sight for all the workers.

Watch video of the St. Louis Cardinals building new homes in Joplin.

Mike Matheny climbs a ladder in Joplin.

Fredbird, mascot for the St. Louis Cardinals, enlivened the proceedings with humorous antics – charming a kiss from a volunteer at one point – and everyone kept their hammers busy. Many a shirt and helmet was signed, many a camera phone picture was taken. (Check out our Facebook album here.) In addition to the five houses, the Cardinals also presented donations adding up to $200,000 to four charities based in Joplin. The money was raised last summer by fans and players.

By the time the team started packing up to leave in the afternoon, only a few media members still lingered. But the joking and good cheer remained among the Cardinals, professional builders and volunteers.

Mark McGwire hammers some nails in Joplin.

“It’s pretty cool,” McGwire said. “That’s what America’s all about – people helping out each other. I’m just happy to be part of the Cardinal organization and for them to ask us to come down.”

Fredbird pulls some antics in Joplin