Ex-president Clinton visits Mets, Cards before Shea tilt

NEW YORK -- Seeing that famed birds-on-the-bat logo brought back all sorts of memories for Bill Clinton.

The former president stopped by Shea Stadium for a visit Tuesday night and, conveniently enough, the St. Louis Cardinals were in town to play the New York Mets.

"The Cardinals were always my favorite team," he said, watching them take batting practice. "Willie Mays was my favorite player, even though he played in New York, but the Cardinals were my team."

Clinton recalled tuning the dial as a boy in Arkansas, picking up St. Louis station KMOX.

"I grew up listening to the Cardinals on the radio. I can remember doing my homework in grade school all the way through high school, listening to Harry Caray do their games," he said.

Clinton said Hall of Famer Stan Musial, no surprise, was his all-time favorite Cardinals player.

"I met him as president and he gave me a bat," he said. "That was a real thrill."

Clinton was at the game as a fan. He signed autographs near the Mets' dugout, with guards and aides catching the many balls that fans tossed in his direction.

"I played baseball as a kid, mostly in the outfield," the left-handed Clinton said. "I should've brought a glove for protection."

Before the game, Clinton and his brother, Roger, spent time with the Cardinals and Mets in their clubhouses.

Roger Clinton especially seemed to enjoy the St. Louis portion of the tour, telling manager Tony La Russa and general manager Walt Jocketty that he attended the 1967 and 1968 World Series to root on the Cardinals.

The former president played it coy when asked whether he cheered more for the Mets or Yankees. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is a New York senator.

"I'm a baseball fan," he said. "I want a New York series, that's what I want."