Cards receive World Series rings in ceremony

Cards receive World Series rings in ceremony

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals received their championship rings on Saturday morning, capping off two days of ceremonies that recognized and celebrated the team's 2011 World Series title.

Owner Bill DeWitt Jr., team president Bill DeWitt III and general manager John Mozeliak took the field first, greeting every player and staff member as they were individually recognized.

"It's one of those things where it just represents last year and all the hard work," said Jon Jay, who also admitted to conducting a photo shoot with the new bling during Saturday's one-hour, 59-minute rain delay before a 5-1 win over the Cubs. "Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of something like this."

The first players handed rings were the six Cardinals Hall of Famers. They lined up alongside 2011 Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. The rest of last season's coaching staff was also recognized, including Cubs coach Dave McKay, who was La Russa's first-base coach.

McKay came out of the Cubs' dugout to collect his ring and shook hands with several members of the Cardinals' organization. He and La Russa embraced. McKay did not line up along the first-base line for the rest of the ceremony, but was recognized with applause as he returned to the visitors' dugout.

As mandated by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, the entire Cubs team watched the ceremony in full. Many also approached McKay to admire his new piece of jewelry.

"It's important to show your respect for the world champions," Sveum said. "I can't speak for the players, but it's a special day to see that, especially watching one of our own get his ring. I hope when we win it, another team is watching us get our rings. I think that's the way things should be done."

The last ring recipients to be recognized were the returning players from the 2011 World Series championship club. Chris Carpenter and David Freese received especially loud applause, as did Adam Wainwright, who was presented with a ring despite not pitching all of last season.

"A lot of players wait a long time to get something like that," said Lance Lynn, who helped lead St. Louis to Saturday's win. "For me, it's an honor to be with guys like that who put their time in to do it. I kind of snuck in and got one my first year. That's a great feeling. It's an even greater feeling to be a part of it with those guys."

Current manager Mike Matheny will also get a ring, but he did not collect his during the ceremony since he was not a part of the Major League club in 2011.

"That was a great gift from the organization," Matheny said. "When I wear that ring, when I look at it, I'll realize what that team did last year. Being a part of the organization, everybody took a lot of pride in that."

The Cardinals will provide rings to several other staff members, as well. Players no longer in St. Louis will have their rings delivered to them.

This year's design included the bird on the bat logo on top, surrounded by the words 'World Champions.' One hundred and three diamonds also circle the logo. The ring includes 14 karat yellow and white gold.

Listed on the sides of the rings are all 11 years in which the Cardinals had won a championship. The rally squirrel makes an appearance, as does the "Happy Flight" phrase that became a rally point for the team during their September and October run.

"We are excited to present the 2011 team with their rings," DeWitt III said in a release. "We worked hard to design a ring that would tell the epic story of 2011 and also pay tribute to the great history of the franchise."

Jostens jewelers, who designed the rings, are also offering personalized jewelry and collectibles with designs inspired by these rings to fans. Those collections can be viewed and ordered at cardinals.com/rings.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.