Best Of 2005

Best Local Boxer
While sparring partner Cory Spinks went down feebly in his marquee rematch with Zab Judah back in February, further down the card fellow Kevin Cunningham trainee Devon Alexander "The Great" triumphed over Donovan Castaneda in a unanimous decision. In June Alexander single-handedly electrified the "Rumble by the River" in St. Charles, taking down welterweight John Rudolph by technical knockout in the third round. At the tender age of eighteen, the upstart with the 5-0 pro record likely has his best fighting days ahead of him. Says Cunningham: "I see Devon as having a bigger future than Cory, if he stays focused."
Best Coach
Where were you when the Ripper went yard on Niedenfuer in Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS? It's a question that, to this day, grips Cardinal faithful like the Kennedy assassination. "When Jack hit it, he flipped his bat and started running down the first-base line," recalls former Cardinal ace Danny Cox. "Then he yells, "Take that, bitches!' Hittin' a bomb to take you to the World Series is pretty damn cool. If you don't like that, I don't know what you can like." After being passed over for ex-Royals nemesis Hal McRae in the Cardinals off-season hitting-coach sweepstakes, Clark signed on in the same role with the independent Frontier League's River City Rascals. This is a guy who spent almost three seasons as hitting coach for the big-league Los Angeles Dodgers. So savor this living local legend while you can.
Best Bowling Lanes
To borrow from Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, Tropicana abides. It's hard for other bowling alleys to compete with this 52-lane powerhouse in Richmond Heights. Not only does Tropicana Lanes strike bowlers' hearts with great deals like the "Tuesday Night Special" -- two hours of bowling, two pairs of shoes, one large pizza and one pitcher of soda, for $22.95 (add $2.50 and make that beer) from 5 till 11 p.m. -- but they cater to your ancillary needs with a swank game room, lounge and banquet facility. Let's go bowling!
Best Place to Bird-Watch
If you think good bird-watching requires long hikes into mosquito-infested forests, you've never been to the Robert and Martha Gaddy Wild Bird Garden in Tower Grove Park. "St. Louis is a great place for birding because of the Mississippi River -- a natural flyway for migratory birds," confirms Denise Kirkpatrick, owner of a Wild Bird Center franchise in south county. One of the best spots for birdwatching, says Kirkpatrick, can be found in the heart of the city, in Tower Grover Park. During spring and fall, the park is home to warblers, woodpeckers, hawks, thrushes, sparrows and many other birds. Kirkpatrick suggests arriving early as birds are most active in the morning. The Wild Bird Garden is located at the northwest corner of the park, along South Kingshighway and Magnolia Avenue. Other popular birding sites: the Woodland Pool and Cypress Circle at the east end of the park. For birding tips, visit one of the local Wild Bird Center shops (see, or call the St. Louis Audubon Society at 314-822-6595 or the Webster Groves Nature Study Society at 314-935-8432.
Best Fishing Hole
Did you know St. Louis was one of six cities included in the U.S. Department of the Interior's first Urban Fishing Programs in 1969? Well Opie, sling your fishin' pole 'cross your overall strap and whistle your way down the mulch trail that leads from the parking lot to the interior of Queeny Park. True, Queeny is home to hayrides and the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, not to mention the Greensfelder Recreation Complex (and tons o' fishing-related events and seminars). But those of us who like our animals cold-blooded and our activities a little more sedentary prefer Queeny's lakes, stocked to the, er, gills with large-mouth bass, bluegill, red-ear sunfish, white crappie, channel catfish and carp. There are a few rules to abide by: The parks-and-rec department requires a license for anglers between ages 16 and 64. And (as posted on the signage) "lewd and lacivious behavior is not permitted." Also, no one on the premises one half-hour after sunset. Why? We're guessing it has to do with the Loch Queeny Monster we keep hearing rumors about.