Cardinals fans will soon be able to show their team loyalty on Illinois license plates.

In 2002, the Illinois legislature enacted a law that allowed the state to sell specialized sports teams license plates, and the only out-of-state team it authorized was the St. Louis Cardinals. It took a while, but team fans will be able to sport the iconic “bird on bat” logo on their plates after Labor Day.

“The Cardinals have a following in Illinois,” said Henry Haupt, the spokesman for the office of the Secretary of State. “Illinois is a very long state graphically, and if you take a look at the state in relation to Missouri, and specifically in relation to St. Louis, there's a large population center we call the Metro East in Illinois that is very close in proximity to St. Louis. And the Cardinals have fans throughout. I live in the Springfield area, and there are quite a few Cardinals fans that live here, and we're centrally located in the state.”

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Sports teams plates cost $69 with a randomly assigned number, and prices increase for those who want vanity or personalize plates. Twenty-five dollars from each sale and renewal goes to the Common School Fund to support public education in Illinois.

Five other teams participating in the program – Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox – collectively have almost 65,000 plates on the road and have raised more than $10 million for Illinois public education.

“So it's a real win-win introducing the St. Louis Cardinals license plate, which will be available after Labor Day, and we're excited by the prospect of providing additional dollars to help educate our young people in public schools in Illinois,” Haupt said.

Plates can be ordered at the department’s website, www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)