ST LOUIS — When actor Jon Hamm was growing up in St. Louis, his favorite sports experience was his father taking him to Game 1 and Game 7 of the 1982 World Series, when his beloved Cardinals downed the Milwaukee Brewers.
“We lost Game 1 and we won Game 7 and I didn't know what to do,” Hamm recalled. “I was a Cardinal fan throughout the ‘70s. I didn’t think we would ever go to a World Series, much less win one. It was weird wandering around. No one knew what to do. Everyone was randomly screaming.”
But he will know what to do if the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise’s 52-year history.
“I think if this happens, it's going to be that (the 1982 experience) times infinity,” Hamm said.
Hamm, 48, is known most for his Emmy-winning portrayal of Don Draper in the award-winning series “Mad Men.” But he is also known as a devoted fan of his St. Louis sports teams.
Earlier this spring, he was being interviewed during a Blues’ broadcast and spontaneously, and professionally, called a goal by Ivan Barbashev. The video was an internet sensation.
Jon Hamm with the call on Ivan Barbashev's goal! #stlbluespic.twitter.com/WHiedj7g7J
"When they got to the final, I texted my best friend in Australia and said, ‘Are you coming?’ he said, ‘no.’ I said, ‘yeah, you are.’ Flew him out,” Hamm said before Game 3. “It’s just exciting. I can’t imagine what’s going through the minds and hearts of the boys on the bench, and I hope they’re committed to that emotion. But the building’s going to be loud.”
Hamm said the city has rallied around the team, which was last overall in the NHL after games on Jan. 2.
“And to have the guts and fortitude and strength and character and the skill to come back from that… I think these guys believe,” Hamm said. “And I think the city’s starting to.”
Jon Hamm speaks to the media prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Photo: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)
Hamm’s fandom dates back to when the team was playing at the Checkerdome.
“Those were back in the days when you could smoke in an arena. So the top third of the building was just smoke.” Hamm said. “But it was still so exciting to watch, especially as a little kid. It’s guys flying around on the ice, it was like nothing you’d ever seen. So it goes back to being a little kid and being around for a lot of heartbreak and a lot of expectations that we didn’t quite live up to, but a lot of fun.”
Hamm appears to have considerable confidence in the Blues’ ability to get the job done this year. But he also has enough history with the city to understand that hope doesn’t always translate into success.
“One of my favorite things in St. Louis is there's a place here called Sportsman's Park that's a bar and a restaurant. You go in for chicken wings and whatnot,” Hamm said. “We would go after football games or what have you. One wall of that place (has) a giant, blow-up picture of the blown call by (umpire) Don Denkinger in 1985. That’s how good we are at holding grudges. We're going to make that wall size and still get angry every day at it.”
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