As Andrew Reidt pulls on the navy blue jersey with the familiar red Cardinals logo on the chest, he accomplishes much more than simply dressing for a game.
For Reidt, who has just traveled from Missouri to Florida to begin a new journey, the simple act of putting on this particular uniform is a moment he’ll remember forever.
In fact, it’s a dream come true.
“It was surreal,” Reidt said of putting on his new jersey for the first time. “I had to sit down and soak it in for a minute.”
A 2010 graduate of Pacific High School, Reidt recently signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, fulfilling a goal that millions of kids only dream about.
The son of Anda and Keith Reidt has been in minor league camp in Jupiter, Fla., since being signed on June 18. And upon his arrival for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, Reidt has been able to don the uniform of the team he’s loved his entire life.
Reidt reflected on the memorable moment he first pulled on his new uniform.
“Our jerseys are actual Cardinal jerseys, with the bird on the bat logo,” he said. “It really hit me when I took the mound for the first time in that jersey. I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really part of the Cardinals organization.’ So putting that jersey on was crazy.”
So how did Reidt end up a minor league prospect in the Cardinals organization?
It happened fast. Reidt’s last game for Cameron University in Oklahoma was May 1 and soon after, he came home to Gray Summit for the summer. He then learned from his former St. Louis Community College coach that he could try out with a Cardinals scout on Tuesday, June 17.
After throwing for the scout, Reidt wasn’t sure what would happen next.
“I went to Washington later that night to umpire a game with my dad and when I got done I checked my phone and the scout had already gotten back to me,” Reidt said. “He told me they wanted to sign me and I needed to be in Florida by Friday. It was crazy.”
So only two days after his tryout, Reidt was on a plane to Florida. He’d earned a shot with his beloved Cardinals. He then reported to the franchise’s facility in Jupiter on Friday, June 20.
Getting a chance to pitch for any professional organization would have been nice, Reidt admitted. But a chance with the Cards? Reidt called it, “unbelievable.” He’s been a Cardinals fan for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve always loved the Cardinals,” he said. “I’ve been to a ton of games over the years and it’s a sweet experience being a member of the organization now.”
Anda Reidt said the entire family has been thrilled to see Drew get a shot with the Cardinals.
“Drew admitted it was like a dream to say he’s a St. Louis Cardinal,” Anda said. “He said he’d go anywhere to play, but with it being the Cardinals, it’s even more special. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
Reidt made his pro debut last Friday, June 27, at Roger Dean Stadium against the Gulf Coast Mets.
He took the mound in the third inning and broke the bat of the first batter he faced. Reidt pitched two scoreless innings and faced eight batters in his team’s 7-3 win. He threw well, allowing just one hit while striking out two. He also hit one batter, but did not give up a run in the no-decision. And he was definitely ready to pitch after watching his new team’s first seven games without seeing any action.
“I was ready, I had started to get antsy,” Reidt said. “As soon as I got out there (on the mound), I was kind of taking everything in during my warm-up pitches. It was pretty special when I was warming up, but then I locked in once there was a batter in the box. Then it felt like any other game.”
Reidt picked up his first professional victory on Monday, June 30, against the Gulf Coast Marlins. He threw two innings, allowed one run and struck out two.
Pitching for the Cardinals was something Reidt used to dream about during his stellar prep career at Pacific. Jeff Reed coached Reidt at the high school level and said he wasn’t surprised the Cardinals would give Reidt a shot.
“We always thought he had a shot because of his height and his body type,” Reed said of the 6-6, 210-pound right-handed Reidt. “It’s not surprising to me that a team would take a chance on him. He’s got size. I just hope he works hard down there and shows them that he can play at that level.”
If you ask Reidt, that’s the plan.
Reidt said he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure his career with the Cardinals isn’t a short one.
“It’s awesome just to have this opportunity, but I’m going to work my tail off down here and do my best when they give me the ball,” he said. “All I can do is work my hardest and see what happens.”
And for now, Reidt will continue to pull on that familiar jersey with the Cardinals logo on the chest, living his dream for as long as he can.