The entrance to the Cathedral Basilica looked more like that of a St. Louis Cardinals game on Thursday, just the way Stan Musial would have liked it.
Thousands of fans turned out for Musial's public visitation at the ornate Roman Catholic church, many of them bundled up against the bitter cold in red Cardinals jackets. Musial, a 24-time All-Star who remained a beloved figure in his adopted hometown a half-century after his playing career ended, died Saturday after years of declining health. He was 92.
Family, close friends and perhaps some of baseball's biggest names will be back at the cathedral for a funeral on Saturday. Thursday was for the fans.
Hours before the event began, hundreds lined Lindell Avenue leading to the steps of the cathedral. Just an hour into the six-hour visitation, 1,400 people had arrived, according to a woman keeping track.
When a bell chimed once as the doors opened, 68-year-old Evelyn Bourisaw, dressed in a red coat, exclaimed, ''Time to play ball!''