Ted Simmons, the former eight-time All-Star catcher for the Cardinals, witnessed racial bias when he moved to St. Louis nearly 45 years ago.
He was a kid who was born and raised in Michigan, drafted by the Cardinals in 1967, and saw things he couldn't believe.
Simmons vividly recalls the hurt and anger when his own Cardinals' teammates, Bob Gibson and Bill White, were turned away when they tried to move into an upscale neighborhood in St. Louis. Gibson wound up simply staying at a downtown hotel during the season, and immediately leaving for his hometown of Omaha, Neb., when the season ended. He remembers a disproportionate amount of cars pulled over in Clayton and Ladue belonging to African-American drivers.
Now, here he is, watching the National Guard being called into suburban Ferguson on Monday, trying to stop the unrest following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed citizen shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
"This has been tough on everyone,'' says Simmons, the Seattle Mariners' senior advisor, who has lived in the St. Louis area for nearly 45 years. "You live here, and people think that things like this only happen across the river in Illinois. Well, this is the still the South, and things happen that shouldn't.
"I came from Ann Arbor (Mich.). I always perceived myself as integrated and civilized with a broad perspective. When my wife and I moved here, we couldn't believe some of the things happening. I still remember Bob Gibson and Bill White being denied residency in Clayton. It was like you were in Mississippi. It was unbelievable.
"There was a whole lot of stupid stuff going on.''
Simmons, like the rest of the St. Louis community, is awaiting to see the results of the investigation before he makes any judgments. Yet, he feels for the peaceful demonstrators, who simply want their voice heard.
"It's like everything is fine as long as you're quiet,'' Simmons says, "but please, don't band together and get political. Things have gotten better in some respects. But a lot of things haven't changed so much.
"This is still the South.''