Gertrude Buescher, of Belleville, began her birthday weekend in grand style Saturday morning.
Buescher, who turns 100 on Sunday, threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the St. Louis Cardinals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 at Busch Stadium.
Buescher, a lifelong Cardinals fan, was one of 56 family members at the game, including her children: daughters LaVerne Janson, Marian Norman and Annette Hipkiss, and sons Wayne Buescher, Don Buescher and Lee Buescher.
Gertrude Buescher was assisted by Norman on a short walk to a few feet in front of home plate, where she underhanded the ball to Cardinals pitcher Matt Bowman.
Buescher and Bowman then embraced and posed for a picture before Bowman autographed a baseball for Buescher and signed the back of her Cardinals jersey.
On the jersey was Buescher’s last name and the No. 100.
“It was fun. Yeah, I liked it,” she said a few minutes after exiting the field. “I’ve been a Cardinals fan for a long time.”
Growing up and through her adult years, Buescher has listened to hundreds of games on radio and seen many more on television. She said she attended “as many (games) as I could.”
Buescher had never been on the field at Busch Stadium.
“It was great,” Buescher said. “I’ve never been down there before.”
Buescher said she prepared for making her underhand toss by playing bowling on Wii, which requires a similar motion to throwing a baseball as Buescher did to Bowman.
Buescher will culminate her birthday weekend with an official celebration Sunday. One hundred people will attend.