The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

August 20, 2012

Mike Pound: Mark McGwire and other St. Louis Cardinals help build homes in Joplin

I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching the St. Louis Cardinals.

And when I say “most of my Sunday afternoon” I mean all of my Sunday afternoon because the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates decided it would be fun to play for 19 innings. When the game finally ended, and the Cards lost, I remember thinking, “This sucks. And the worst part is I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.”

But the thing is, all I had to do on Monday was get up and drive to Joplin and do what I normally do, which is pretend to work. And let’s be honest, the only energy I expended Sunday while watching the game was when I got off the couch to get a beer. Now granted, it was a 19-inning game, which meant I had to get up off the couch more than I normally do, but I didn’t exactly wear myself out.

Imagine if you were coaching in that 19-inning game, or managing the Cardinals, or if you were the general manager or owner, and not only did you have to work the next day but that work would involve getting on a plane and flying to Joplin to build houses.

It would be like being Todd Akin’s press secretary on Monday, is what I’m thinking.

Funny thing though, Mark McGwire didn’t think being in Joplin the day after coaching 19 innings was awful. Mark thought being in Joplin was great and he laughed off Sunday’s game.

“Hey, it was a day game,” Mark said with a grin. “And the first nine innings only took about two hours. We just decided to go another 10 or so.”

I told Mark that I wasn’t a sports writer and that I didn’t really come to chat with him about baseball. And then I proceeded to chat with him about baseball. I mean, how many chances do you get to talk baseball with Mark McGwire.

After I got the baseball talk out of my system, I asked Mark why in the world he gave up a precious day off to come to Joplin. Basically, Mark said he and the rest of the Cardinals who showed up to work on Habitat For Humanity homes did so because they thought it was the right thing to do.

“I was sitting in Mike’s (Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny) office when John (Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak) came in and said, ‘I’ve got something I would like you to do,’ and when he told us we both agreed right away,” he said.

The Cardinals have done a lot for Joplin since the May 22, 2011, tornado.

Reaching out to others has long been a club tradition. In advance of today’s trip the Cardinals announced they were donating $200,000 to four area charities and they also are supporting the construction of five Habitat for Humanity homes as part of the Governor’s Joplin Challenge.

McGwire said seeing the devastation after the storm from afar was bad enough but visiting Joplin, even more than a year after the tornado, and meeting people impacted by the storm was “eye popping”.

As we chatted several people stopped by to have him sign a photo or a jersey or to pose for a picture.  Each person as they walked away thanked Mark for coming to Joplin and you could tell they really meant it.

“No,” Mark said each time. “Thank you.”

You could tell he really he meant it.


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May 2011 Joplin tornado
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    April 9, 2014

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    April 7, 2014

  • National institute releases final report on Joplin tornado

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Friday released a final report into the technical investigation of the May 22, 2011, tornado that struck Joplin — the deadliest tornado in the United States in the 64 years that official records have been kept.

    March 28, 2014

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    The 991 donations ranged from $1 to $119,000. They came from all over the world. On Tuesday, the managers of the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund gave an accounting of how those donations, which totaled about $995,950 with interest, were given in 41 grants, recipients of which included 27 local agencies.

    March 18, 2014 2 Photos

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    After investments that included stationing a company executive in Joplin for eight months last year, officials with Farmers Insurance said the company will continue its post-tornado commitment to Joplin in 2014. “We’re going to stay until the end,” said Doris Dunn, director of community relations for the company, on Wednesday. “That includes sending in another 100-plus volunteers and making some additional financial investments.”

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

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    Carolyn Mueller is both a dog lover and a storyteller. So when she got the opportunity to write a story about a Joplin dog named Lily who helped search for survivors after the May 2011 tornado, she jumped on it. “Dogs like Lily can be heroes, too,” she said.

    February 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • VIDEO: Lost photos claim day to be held at museum

    National Disaster Photo Rescue and the Joplin Museum Complex have scheduled a public viewing and photo claim day for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the museum complex in Schifferdecker Park. The project, originally known as Lost Photos of Joplin, was organized in the weeks after the May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado to reunite storm victims with photos displaced by the storm.

    February 4, 2014

  • Building-permit total since tornado nears $1 billion

    The building of new homes in Joplin continues at an average pace of 16 to 18 per month, according to a building permit report released for December by the city of Joplin. Eighteen building permits for new homes were issued in both November and December. In fiscal year 2013, permits for new homes averaged more than 16 per month.

    January 31, 2014

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