A 1984 Pattonville High School graduate has been the MVP — Most Valuable Painter — for the St. Louis Cardinals this year. Patrick Barrett became the painter foreman in November 2018 after working seasonally for 12 years with the team. His rookie season was during high school when he worked on the grounds crew while his father was employed as a seasonal painter.
“What makes my job cool is I get to paint everything at Busch Stadium from the front offices to the dugout to the bullpen and the concourse areas,” he said. “I could also be out in the parking lot painting stripes or painting Yadier Molina’s catcher’s mask.”
Molina debuted a hockey style catcher's mask on Aug. 26 that featured a yellow face shield.
“The guys in the clubhouse sent me a picture of the mask and asked if I could paint it for him,” Barrett said. “The shield was blue to start with, so after picking the color yellow he wanted, I lightly scuffed the paint, primed it and then put about four coats of the yellow paint on.”
Molina wore that mask for about one-and-a-half games but Barrett said it’s probably his favorite project he’s worked on.
“It’s sitting on my desk and I have to put it back to the way it was because he didn’t like it, but the picture of the mask has been used in a lot of promotional pieces so that’s pretty cool for me,” he said. “I can now tell you I’ve painted everything from head-to-toe on Yadi because I did two pairs of his cleats a couple of years ago.”
His job requires him to do a lot of other things at Busch Stadium as well. He puts the flags and pennants up on the roof of the stadium and near the scoreboards.
“That’s probably the coolest part of my job, but it can also be the worst part,” he said. “There’s nothing worse for me than having to lower the flag in centerfield to half staff for a senseless act and I’ve had to do that so many times that I can’t even count. When the queen [Elizabeth] passed away, that’s showing respect, but having to lower it for a classroom full of kids being killed, it affects me.”
Barrett is a commercial painter and doesn’t consider himself much of an artist.
“One of the very first things I had to paint at the stadium was a Fredbird display in the Family Pavilion. I’ve painted drywall and concrete, I never had to paint something like that before. I probably did his shoes four times and I’d hate it and start over. I always say I’m a perfectionist; I have to make sure, in my opinion, that it looks presentable.”
He encourages current students to consider jobs in the trades field.
“Kids don’t realize the trades can be a great alternative,” Barrett said. “I was never a college bound person and I took a long roundabout way to get where I’m at, but right now, the trades are just begging for people. You can make a very good living, not just get by, but a very, very good living doing something you love.”
Barrett is the father of two Pattonville graduates. Olivia (Class of 2014) is a multimedia production coordinator for the Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Anna (Class of 2020) is a junior at Missouri State University studying elementary education.