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Cardinals star pinch hits as a substitute teacher at local elementary school

“It was nice to be in St. Louis and not have to worry about which righty throwing 100mph was trying to take my lunch that day," said Cardinals player Harrison Bader.

CLAYTON, Mo. — Students at a local elementary school got quite the surprise when Cardinals centerfielder Harrison Bader showed up at their school to lead their class.

Like many schools across the country, the start of the second semester has been a bit of a struggle at Meramec Elementary.

“Last week was a challenge,” said Meramec Elementary Principal Patrick Fisher. “Mostly we had a lot of kids out, but it’s also the staffing perspective. I think sometimes that’s a big part that gets overlooked.”

When Fisher needed someone to pinch hit for P.E. he was able to find an all-star sub to cover all the bases thanks to Missouri Senator Brian Williams.

“We introduced him as a sub, or a guest teacher, and so they were all like wearing masks and he didn’t have a uniform. It was like wait a second who is this?  What’s going on?” Fisher said.

The man behind that mask was none other than the Gold Glove centerfielder.

“Being a substitute science or math teacher, even at that level, would be above my paygrade,” said Bader.

“It’s always so much fun engaging kids that age and seeing how their mind works and everything,” said Bader.

Instead of asking Bader about the game he plays for a living, the students at Meramec showed the Cardinals standout a game they created themselves.

“There wasn’t a hesitation from him just to hop right in and get in there and mix it with the kids,” said Fisher.

“In the game that they played they had a lot more success than I did,” said Bader. “I’ve had a lot more success on the field playing in front of St. Louis fans.”

With MLBPA and MLB in the midst of a lockout we asked if this could be a temporary career change.

“Definitely not going to have a career change,” said Bader. “It was nice though to be in St. Louis and not have to worry about which righty throwing 100 was trying to take my lunch that day.”

While Bader may have better success on the baseball diamond, Fisher said he’s always welcome to rejoin the ranks of the Meramec faculty.

“It really is going to be one of those things our kids remember,” said Fisher. “Whether it’s just remembering the memory, or a couple of the hats he might have signed for our students while he was there.”

“If there are any substitute teacher openings let me know,” said Bader.

Bader followed all the school's COVID safety protocols while on campus.

He said he and the rest of the team, have been inspired by Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright to give back to the St. Louis region.

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