Who is this guy?

Marshall Wilson will lead a new forum called "Cardinal's Connection" on our Website starting Monday.

THE LIFE PATH of Marshall Wilson has had more twists and turns that a pretzel. Call him the Facebook Cowboy, attorney at law.

And the No. 1 St. Louis Cardinals fan --- ever.

This is The Marshall Plan.

"I always wanted to be a cowboy, for as long as I can remember," Wilson said. "Always, first and foremost."

His dream came true. After earning a degree in 1978 --- his degree was not in Cowboy, but General Studies --- he spent the next eight years in Wyoming.

"I was more of a hired hand, I guess you could say," said Wilson, 57. "I worked on a horse ranch and took people on horse and mule pack trips in the summer; I guided elk hunters in the fall; and led people on snowmobiling trips in the winter."

Wilson "worked" a lot in and around Yellowstone Park and the Teton Wilderness.

"The prettiest place on God's green Earth," he said. "I went and lived that dream for eight years."

"All I got was some broken bones and beautiful wife out of the deal."

He met his wife, Josee, on one of the pack trips and when they had a daughter, Katie, in 1986, Wilson's days as a cowboy were over.

"I was making 350 dollars a month," he said. "That wasn't quite enough to support a family."

He went back to law school and became an attorney --- following in the footsteps of his father, McCormick. He currently works with Michael Berry at the law firm of Berry-Wilson in Jefferson City.

Throughout his childhood --- and then eight years as a cowboy and now 22 years as a lawyer (he still dresses as a cowboy, by the way, boots and all) --- there has been one constant:

Cardinals baseball.

"That's the most important thing, besides God and family, 12 months out of the year," Wilson said. "It's what keeps me going through the winter, waiting on spring training, and it's what gets me through the droughts and heat waves during the summer.

"I often say if it wasn't for Cardinal baseball in the summer, we'd all plunge off a cliff like lemmings. There would be no reason to get up and
live through the day, if it weren't for Cardinal baseball."

Central Missouri may not be the heart of Cardinal Nation, but it's certainly some kind of major organ. You can't swing a stick at Walmart without hitting about a dozen Cardinal fans.

But Marshall takes it to another level. He posts on Facebook like a teen-age girl, sometimes more than a dozen times a day --- and almost always about
Cardinal baseball.

"There are some like-minded people, maybe we're all sitting home alone, counting down the outs to another victory," Wilson said. "It takes very little effort and it's kind of nice to have that camaraderie."

Wilson wasn't always a high-tech Cardinal fan.

"I spent a lot of long nights as a kid with a transistor radio under my pillow" he said. "I remember one time our teacher let us listen to the World Series in class, we didn't have to sneak our radios in. That was a big event."

The Cardinals ... from a kid to a cowboy.

"In the fall, I'd be in elk camp and we'd ride up to the top of some mountain so we could get the radio feed," he said. "We'd sit there in the dark, look at the stars and listen to the Cardinals.

"Hearing the game, hearing those voices ... it was just like music."


THIS WILL be a forum for Marshall to give his thoughts on everything Cardinal. I will also add my thoughts, as will Rod Smith --- and you.

While Marshall may direct the conversation, we welcome you with open Cardinal wings to offer your thoughts and comments, agreements and rebuttals. It can be positive, it can be negative, it can be funny, it can be thoughtful. Just no four-letter words, please, unless it's Yadi.

This will be our six-month conversation, for that's what baseball season is --- a nice, long, relaxed chat among friends. It is the rhythm of our spring, our summer, our fall. Football may now be American's passion, but baseball remains America's pastime.

This should be a fun endeavor for all Cardinal fans. And starting April 1, we will finally hear the words we've waited to hear since last fall, when St. Louis lost Game 7 of the NLCS at San Francisco ---

Play ball!