It's come down to this: Henke
vs. Ozzie for KRCG tourney title

April 16, 2020

Tom Henke and Ozzie Smith first met in February, 1995, prior to the start of St. Louis Cardinals spring training in Florida.

Now, they meet again. This time, for the Championship of the World!!!

Well, that might be a bit overstated.

Championship of the Americas? Mmmm ...

Missouri?  Kinda-sorta, but ...

More like it, Henke and Ozzie will meet for the Championship of Cole, Osage and the other counties in Central Missouri, as the KRCG Missouri Sports Personality Bracket Challenge is drawing to a close. You can go to krcg.com to vote for your champion until 5:30 p.m. Friday, as the competition that started with 64 entrants and is now down to two.

"I know this deal has generated a lot of excitement in a trying, trying time,  I think people are having fun with it," Henke said. "People have been calling me and my daughters, especially, have been watching it really close.

"i got a call from Jerald Andrews (director of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame), he's been following it. And Kathy (Henke's wife) took our dog to the vet yesterday and there were folks out in the parking lot and they were talking about it."

Think people are desperate for entertainment?

Ozzie's wins to reach the finals have been impressive, to be sure, as he's beaten these Missouri Sports Greats:

^ Dan Dierdorf

^ Payne Stewart

^ Andy Reid

^ Jack Buck

^ Bob Gibson

But Henke's resume' of victories is even more impressive, especially in the early rounds:

^ Len Dawson

^ Norm Stewart

^ Stan Musial

^ Whitey Herzog

^ Yadier Molina

"I'm lucky enough," Henke said with a smile, "to live in mid-Missouri and have a lot of family, let's put it that way."

Henke joined the Cardinals 1995 after leaving the Texas Rangers as a free agent. That would be his final season in the majors.

"I'll never forget when I came over to the Cardinals and I didn't know a lot of the players," Henke said. "I was picking up my rental car in St. Petersburg before spring training and who shows up? It was Ozzie. He welcomed me to the team, and he said they were excited to have me on the team --- and I was excited to be there.

"We've been good friends ever since, he's a great guy. He doesn't sit around, he's constantly got something going ... he's one of the busiest men I've ever met.

"And as far as I'm concerned, he's the best defensive shortstop there ever was. His acrobatics and his fielding are second to none."

Along with his defensive majesty, the Hall of Fame shortstop might be best known for the patented back flip he did on opening day and before postseason home games. They were something to behold.

Well, behold this --- Rod Smith and I agree that if Henke is our champion, we'll get him to do a back flip. On camera.

The thought got quite a laugh from the Taos Terminator.

"You better have the ambulance and several paramedics there," he said, "because if I tried that, I'd probably end up flat on my back."

Spoken with humility, like a true champion.

Henke continues roll

into Elite Eight

‚Äčof KRCG tournament

Loeffler's Link

Chris Leuckel

No. 16 seed Henke
stuns No. 1 Dawson
in KRCG 'tournament'

After disposing of five straight opponents --- and all five wins would be considered upsets --- Tom Henke needs one more upset victory --- this time against Ozzie Smith --- to win the KRCG competition.