Tim Vecera's barbershop is full of Cardinal memorabilia. Framed jerseys, autographed baseballs, bobbleheads, banners and a Brockabrella decorate walls, shelves and a display spot in the front window. Look up for a David Eckstein growth poster stretched across the ceiling.
Just about everything was donated by customers.
"It all started when my wife (Monica) bought these seats over here," said Tim, gesturing to two red souvenirs from the old Busch Stadium. "A friend gave us the Pujols jersey."
The collection grew like a bobblehead giveaway line.
Tim and stylist Stacey Walraven cut hair beneath Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up name boards autographed by Red Schoendienst, Willie McGee, Jason Isringhausen and more. Red lettered "HOF 89" above his name.
"A friend who worked there got them for me," said Tim, 50, who owns Lehman's Barbershop in O'Fallon.
Same for the framed homeplate signed by a myriad of former players.
"This was in the players lounge of the Winter Warm-Up."
What about that Cubs flag in the corner?
"A longtime customer dared me to put it up. You can see who lost that bet."
Longtime customer Otto Hartman happened in Friday afternoon.
"I followed Tim around for the last 25 years," said Otto, a retired school teacher (East St. Louis and Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville), who lives in Collinsville. "I got tired of seeing all of this Cardinals stuff. I'm a Cubs fan. I grew up in south St. Louis as a Cardinals fan till Auggie Busch wouldn't give Steve Carlton a raise. He went to Philadelphia. So did I.
"Then I married a Chicago girl. (Diane) took me to the dark side. My wife used to work for the Cubs. it was her summer job in high school and college. She lived 10 blocks from the ballpark.
"But Stan Musial is my favorite baseball player. ..."
Tim's framed Musial jersey hangs alongside a numbered collage print of St. Louis Hall of Fame sports legends. Chunky clay-looking designs -- the STL logo, the stadium and bird swinging a bat -- that you can find around the stadium, you can also find in Tim's barbershop.
"We had them before the stadium had them," said Stacey.
"This year, the same guys made this," Tim said of a red and gold cardinal perched on a bat. "The reason I got this bird is he's facing the wrong way for where they were going to put it."
Tim displays bobbleheads of Yadier Molina, Mark McGwire and Vince Coleman on a shelf a customer crafted.
"I think people have stuff in their house and they're not going to do anything with it," said Tim, who attends a couple games a year. "They see it in here and think this would be a good place for it. It makes people feel good."
And starts conversations.
"It's a baseball town," said Tim. "We could win 10 Super Bowls in a row and it would be, 'What are the Cardnals going to do?'
"Somebody may walk in for the first time and you see them look around. You wonder what's going through their minds."
Stacey, who likes both baseball and hockey, thinks the decor keeps conversations safe.
"It's nice. It keeps spirits high. It's good conversation. We don't have to update ourselves on politics. It's always baseball. Very rarely does a conversation go where you are taking a stand."
Tim took a little stand on his Pujols memorabilia.
"Last year, after Pujols signed with the Angels, people would ask, 'What are you going to do with that jersey?' or 'Take that down' or 'Get rid of that.' It subsided three-fourths of the way through the year."
That afternoon, Tim put a red cape on the Cubs fan before his haircut.
"When I bought these capes a few weeks ago, they were almost Cardinal red," he said. "I don't care about color."
"Yeah, right," said Otto.
"I did not buy them with Cardinal red in mind," said Tim. "They wouldn't have been there If I had been looking for them."
A spring training cap hangs near a mirror, a gift from a customer who went to Jupiter, Fla., for some pre-season fun.
"People are generous," he said. "They really are.
"Before, there was nothing on the walls, maybe a picture of an old farm field. It was rather drab. We went from nothing to something."
What about that ticket in plastic from the 2009 All-Star game?
"A customer came in the day before the All-Star game," said Tim. "He said, 'I was thinking of you. Here you go.' What a thrill that was. I had no idea I was going."
Tim's five favorites:
1. A framed No. 5 Pujols jersey. "I liked him when he was on the team and I still like him," said Tim.
2. Autographed name placards --including Jason Isringhausen, Mark Mulder, Red Schoendienst, Willie McGee -- used during Winter Warm-Up autograph sessions.
3. A commemorative 2011 World Series etched mirror of the scene on the field after the Cardinals win.
4. A framed Stan Musial jersey.
5. An autographed homeplate from the Winter Warm-Up players lounge. "It would be hard to duplicate."