ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jon Hamm joked that the bobble head the St. Louis Cardinals honored him with was “probably repurposed” from a Matt Carpenter model.
“It’s great, it’s fantastic. It’s amazing how many people I’ve had ask me to get them one,” Hamm said before throwing the first pitch Monday night for the Cardinals’ game against the Cincinnati Reds. “That was the weird thing — aunts and uncles and friends of all stripes, so I’ll probably need about 40 of them.”
The “Mad Men” star, a lifelong Cardinals fan who grew up in the suburbs, is starring in the baseball movie “Million Dollar Arm.”
Bearded and wearing a white Cardinals cap at the podium, Hamm remembered watching the 1982 World Series at age 11.
Hamm graduated from John Burroughs High School and Missouri before emerging as Don Draper in the hit AMC television series.
He grew up in Normandy, Missouri, not far from Ferguson, where an unarmed 18-year-old was fatally shot by police and has sparked a week of protests and looting. He noted, “That’s my neighborhood.”
“It’s a bad situation all the way around, there’s no positive spin to it,” Hamm said. “When all the facts come out and hopefully all the light is shown on all sides of it, hopefully the justice will be carried out.”
Hamm’s best friend, John Simmons, is the eldest son of longtime Cardinals star Ted Simmons. They were teammates on the high school team, but Hamm had no illusions of playing for the hometown team.
That became clear when he worked out with Cardinals players including Bob Forsch, Andy Van Slyke and Simmons in the winter.
“I was like ‘Nope, I’m not as good as these guys and probably will never be,” Hamm said. “Fortunately I was able to find another career.”
Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz was another classmate in high school.
“I don’t know if Danny was destined for a front office job,” Hamm said. “I do know that our high school puts out some pretty motivated and talented kids and Danny was certainly one of them.”
Portions of the proceeds from the bobblehead event went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hamm lost his mother to cancer and father to diabetes.
“It’s an organization like no other,” Hamm said. “I couldn’t be more sincere when I say they are some of the greatest people on the planet.”