1940s1950s1960s2000s2010sBaseballBaseball MusicESPNHighlightsHistoryInterviewsL E StoriesLegendsMLBMLB All Star GameMLB Hall of FameMLB MVPMLB RecordsMLB World SeriesMusicMusic SportsNew York YankeesPete RoseSpecialsSt. Louis Cardinals

L E’s Stories – “Baseball’s Perfect Warrior Is Baseball’s Perfect Knight.” – Tribute To “Stan The Man” Musial

While putting the magnifying glass on the Louisiana Street Whiffleball League in Midland, Texas from 1953 to 1963….any observer would find Bone Daddy, along with his brothers, Lil Wally and Runt, plus neighborhood friends Bruce Garrett, Peanut Davis, TNT Throckmorton, Jimmy Newman and Johnny Northern all impersonating such MLB greats of the day like Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Willie McCovey, Minnie Minoso, Duke Snyder and Stan Musial when they gathered to play either 9 inning whiffleball games or whiffleball home run derby games. There would also be home run derby games that were “left-handed batting games only” …..which meant that you had to choose a left-handed hitting player for the competition….and that would bring the Louisiana Street Whiffleball League to choose the likes of Yogi Berra, Duke Snyder, Willie McCovey, Mickey Mantle (switch-hitter), Eddie Mathews, Ted Williams and Stan Musial into the competition….and the 1st player chosen almost every time was Stan The Man (Musial)….even more often than The Mick (Mantle) or The Splendid Splinter (Williams).  Any way you cut the pie, Stan Musial was very popular down on Louisiana Street in the decade of the 1950’s….and that always brings sweet memories of times gone by when neighborhood friends got together to impersonate their favorite MLB players in their while having a great time playing games of home run derby in their back yards on Louisiana Street in Midland, Texas during the decade of the 1950’s….for these are the moments that remain in the memories of old men in the 70’s in year 2021.  So, today’s story is dedicated to one of Bone Daddy’s favorite baseball heroes, Stan Musial, simply known as Stan The Man.                                                                                                                                           

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – ESPN Classics With Chris Fowler – MLB Baseball Sports Documentary – Stan “The Man” Musial

 

Stan Musial (November 21, 1920 – January 19, 2013), nicknamed Stan the Man, was an American baseball  outfielder and first baseman….who spent 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB)….while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, from 1941 to 1944 and from 1946 to 1963….as he is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most consistent hitters in baseball history.  Musial was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969…..who batted .331 over the course of his career….and set National League (NL) records for career hits  with 3,630….runs batted in with 1,951…. games played with 3,026….at bats with 10,972…. runs scored with 1,949….and doubles with 725.  His 475 career home runs then ranked 2nd in NL history behind Mel Ott’s total of 511.  A seven-time batting champion….who was named the National League’s (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times….and was a member of three World Series championship teams.  He also shares the major league record for the most All-Star Games played at 24….with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

 

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – Special – Stan Musial: “A Truly Humble And Gracious Hero”

 

Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania….where he frequently played baseball informally or in organized settings….and eventually played on the baseball team at Donora High School….who was signed to a professional contract by the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938….but Musial was converted into an outfielder and made his major league debut in 1941.  Noted for his unique batting stance, he quickly established himself as a consistent and productive hitter…..when in his 1st full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series.  The following year, he led the NL in six different offensive categories….while earning his first MVP award….and was also named to the NL All-Star squad for the first time….then he proceeded to appeared in every All-Star game in every subsequent season he played.  Musial won his 2nd World Series championship in 1944…..then missed the entire 1945 season while serving in the Navy…..when after completing his military service during the war, Musial returned to baseball in 1946….and resumed his consistent hitting.  That year he earned his second MVP award and third World Series title.  His third MVP award came in 1948….when he finished one home run short of winning baseball’s Triple Crown…..then after struggling offensively in 1959….that is when he used a personal trainer to help maintain his productivity until he decided to retire in 1963.  At the time of his retirement, he held or shared 17 major league records….29 National League records….and nine All-Star Game records.  In addition to overseeing personal businesses, including a restaurant, both before and after his playing career, Musial served as the Cardinals’  general manager in 1967….in which the Cards won  the pennant and World Series….after which he then resigned that position.  Musial was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.  In February 2011, President Barack Obama presented Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award that can be bestowed on a person by the United States government.                                                                                            

 

MLB & Music – 1941 To 1963 – Stan Musial Special – “Stan The Man (St. Louis Stan)” – Sung By Dennis Massa

Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, the fifth of the six children (four girls and two boys) of Lukasz Musial (originally Musiał and Mary Lancos. His mother was of Carpatho-Rusyn descent, and his father was a Polish immigrant….who always referred to his son by the Polish nickname Stasiu, pronounced “Stashu”.  Young Stan frequently played baseball with his brother Ed and other friends during his childhood….and considered Lefty Grove his favorite ballplayer.  Musial also learned about baseball from his neighbor Joe Barbao….who was a former minor league pitcher.  When he enrolled in school, his name was formally changed to Stanley Frank Musial.  At age 15, Musial joined the Donora Zincs, a semi-professional team managed by Barbao.  In his Zincs debut, he pitched six innings and struck out 13 batters….with all of them being adults.  He played one season on the newly revived Donora High School baseball team, where one of his teammates was Buddy Griffey….who was the father of MLB player Ken Griffey Sr. and grandfather to Ken Griffey Jr….when baseball statistician Bill James described the younger Griffey, in comparison to Musial, as “the second-best left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder ever born in Donora, Pennsylvania, on November 21.”  His exploits as a rising player in Pennsylvania earned him the nickname “The Donora Greyhound”.  Musial also played basketball and was offered an athletic scholarship in that sport by the University of Pittsburgh…..meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals had scouted Musial as a pitcher and, in 1937, offered him a professional contract after a workout with their Class D Penn State League affiliate.  Musial’s father initially resisted the idea of his son pursuing a baseball career….but he reluctantly gave consent after lobbying by his son and his wife.  Musial also credited his school librarian Helen Kloz for pointing out that baseball was his dream….and advising him to pursue it professionally.  In what was then a common practice, the Cardinals did not file the contract with the baseball commissioner’s office until June 1938….which preserved Musial’s amateur eligibility……and he was still able to participate in high school sports….thus leading Donora High School’s basketball team to a playoff appearance.  He then reported to the Cardinals’ Class D affiliate in West Virginia, the Williamson Red Birds.

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – Stan Musial Special – “Highlights and Commentary Of Famous MLB Players On The Career & Accomplishment Of Stan The Man”

 

Musial’s rookie year with Williamson in 1938 was a period of adjustment both on and off the field….as he began gaining more in-depth knowledge about baseball strategy….while posting a 6–6 win–loss record….and a 4.66 earned run average (ERA)….plus a .258 batting average…..when off the field, he experienced feelings of homesickness….while learning to live comfortably and independently on his $65-per-month salary (equivalent to $970 in 2019).  Musial finished his high school education before returning to Williamson in the spring of  1939….when during that season his numbers improved to a 9–2 record….a 4.30 ERA….and a .352 batting average.                                                      

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – Special – Stan Musial: Breakdown Of “The Man’s” Swing

 

Musial spent the 1940 season with the Cardinals’ other Class D team, the Daytona Beach Islanders…. where he developed a lifelong friendship with manager Dickie Kerr….as his pitching skills improved under the guidance of Kerr….who also recognized his hitting talent….when he played him in the outfield between pitching starts….then on May 25, 1940, Musial married fellow Donora resident, Lillian “Lil” Labash, in Daytona Beach…. and the couple’s 1st child followed in August. During late August, Musial suffered a shoulder injury while playing in the outfield….and later made an early exit as the starting pitcher in a 12–5 playoff game loss….and that is when Musial considered leaving baseball entirely….while complaining that he could not afford to support himself and his wife on the $16 a week pay….and that is when Kerr talked him out of it….and even took the Musials into his own home to relieve the financial burden.  To repay the debt, Musial bought Kerr a $20,000 (equivalent to $180,000 in 2019) home in Houston in 1958.  In 113 games in 1940 he hit .311….while compiling an 18–5 pitching record that included 176 strikeouts and 145 walks.                                                                        

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – Special – Stan “The Man” Musial Photo Dedication

 

Musial was assigned to the Class AA Columbus Red Birds to begin 1941….albeit manager, Burt Shotton, and Musial himself quickly realized that the previous year’s injury had considerably weakened his arm….so, he was reassigned to the Class C Springfield Cardinals as a full-time outfielder….and he later credited manager Ollie Vanek for displaying confidence in his hitting ability.  During 87 games with Springfield, Musial hit a league-leading .379 before being promoted to the Rochester Red Wings of the International League….where he was noted for his unique batting stance….which was a crouch with his back seemingly square to the pitcher.  This stance was later described by pitcher Ted Lyons as “a kid peeking around the corner to see if the cops were coming”.  According to a 1950 description by author Tom Meany, “The bent knees and the crouch give him the appearance of a coiled spring, although most pitchers think of him as a coiled rattlesnake.”  Musial continued to play well in Rochester….when in one three-game stretch, he had 11 hits….,so, he was called up to the Cardinals for the last two weeks of the 1941 season….as Musial made his major league debut during the 2nd game of a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park on September 17, 1941….for the Cardinals were in the midst of a pennant race with the Brooklyn Dodgers….when in 12 games, Musial collected 20 hits for a .426 batting average…..and despite Musial’s late contributions, the Cardinals  finished two and one-half games behind the 100-game-winning Dodgers.

 

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – MLB Highlights – Stan Musial Tribute – With Career Highlights, Greatest Plays & Games

 

Cardinals manager Billy Southworth used Musial as a left fielder to begin 1942….while sometimes lifting him for a pinch-hitter against left-handed pitching.  Musial was hitting .315 by late June, as the Cardinals resumed battling the Dodgers for 1st place in the National League (NL).  The Cardinals took sole possession of 1st place on September 13 ….and when Musial caught a fly ball to end the 1st game of a doubleheader on September 27 they clinched the pennant with their 105th win…..as he finished the season with a .315 batting average and 72 runs batted in (RBI) in 140 games…..then Musial received national publicity when he was named by St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor J. Roy Stockton as his choice for Rookie of the Year in a Saturday Evening Post article.                                                                                         

 

MLB – 1941 – Highlights Of Cardinals 1B Stan Musial’s Career – Accompanied By Music Stan The Man

 

The Cardinals played the American League  champion New York Yankees in the 1942 World Series….when while representing the winning run at home plate in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 1 at Sportsman’s Park, Musial grounded out with the bases loaded to end the game .  Musial’s first hit of the Series was an RBI single that provided the margin of victory in Game 2….which  allowed the Cardinals to tie the Series.  Over the next three games at Yankee Stadium, Musial had three more hits….as the Cardinals defeated the Yankees in the Series four games to one.  Musial batted .222 for the Series….with two runs scored.                                                                                       

 

MLB – 1943 – World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs St Louis Cardinals

 

Musial’s 1943 season started with a brief contract holdout in spring training…..then he made the National League All-Star team for the 1st time as a starting left fielder….and got a double in the All-Star Game on July 13….then he finished the season leading the major leagues in hitting with a .357 batting average….and led the NL in hits with 220…. doubles with 48….triples with 20….total bases with 347….on-base percentage with .425….and slugging percentage with .562….as this performance earned him his 1st NL Most Valuable Player Award….which was ahead of teammate and catcher Walker Cooper (.318 batting average).  After romping to another NL pennant by 18 games, the Cardinals again faced the Yankees in the 1943 World Series….when  Stan the Man had a single in the Cardinals’ Game 1 loss, and scored a run in a Game 2 win.  The Cardinals did not win another game in the Series….but the loser’s bonus share paid to each Cardinals player ($4,321.99, equivalent to $63,900 in 2019) still amounted to nearly two-thirds of Musial’s regular season salary.                                                                              

 

MLB – 1942 – World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs St Louis Cardinals (No Sound)

 

United States involvement in World War II began to impinge on Musial’s baseball career in 1944….as he underwent a physical examination in prelude to possible service in the armed forces.  He ultimately remained with the Cardinals for the entire season…. while posting a .347 batting average with 197 hits. The Cardinals claimed the NL pennant for the 3rd consecutive season….and faced St. Louis’s other major league team, the Browns in the 1944 World Series…..as the Browns took a 2–1 lead….while Musial hit .250 with no RBI….then he broke out in Game 4 with a two-run home run, single, double, and a walk as part of a 5–1 Cardinals win.  The Cardinals went on to defeat the Browns in six games….and Musial posted a .304 batting average for the Series.                                                                                                                        

 

 MLB – 1944 – World Series Highlights – St Louis Browns Vs St Louis Cardinals

 

Musial enlisted in the United States Navy on January 23, 1945, during World War II. He was initially assigned to non-combat duty at the Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland.  In June 1945, he was assigned to Special Services in Hawaii ….and was assigned to a ferry launch unit to bring back damaged ship crews entering Pearl Harbor…. where he was able to play baseball every afternoon in the naval base’s eight-team league.  A point of interest to Bone Daddy and our ImaSportsphile crew here, was that Bone Daddy’s dad, Pops, also served at Pearl Harbor during “The Day of Infamy”, December 7, 1941….when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese….which is a day that is revered and honored even to December 7, 2020. After being granted emergency leave to see his ailing father in January 1946, he was briefly assigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard before his honorable discharge from the Navy as a Seaman Second Class in March 1946.  In 2007, Musial received the Navy Memorial’s Lone Sailor Award, which honors Navy veterans who have excelled in civilian life.                                    

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – Missouri History Museum Special – Tribute To Stan “The Man” Musial

 

Rejoining the Cardinals under new manager Eddie Dyer….as Musial posted a .388 batting average by the middle of May 1946…..when during this time he became close friends with new teammate Red Schoendienst….who had joined the Cardinals during Musial’s absence in 1945.  During the season, Musial….who was under contract to the Cardinals for $13,500 in 1946….when he was offered a five-year, $125,000 contract, plus a $50,000 bonus, to join the Mexican League….but he declined the offer….and after manager Dyer spoke to club owner Sam Breadon….that is when Musial was given a $5,000 raise later in 1946.  It was also during the 1946 season that Musial acquired his nickname of Stan the Man…..when during the June 23rd game against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Bob Broeg heard Dodger fans chanting whenever Musial came to bat….but could not understand the words….so, later that day over dinner, Broeg asked Cardinals traveling secretary Leo Ward if he had understood what the Dodger fans had been chanting….to which  Ward said, “Every time Stan came up they chanted, ‘Here comes the man!'” “‘That man,’ you mean”, Broeg said. “No, the man”, replied Ward.  After which Broeg wrote in his Post Dispatch column saying….“Every time Stan came up they chanted, ‘Here comes the man!'”….and Musial was thereafter known as Stan The Man.                                            

 

MLB – 2013 – Special Career Highlights – Stan “The Man” Musial – On The Day He Dies At Age 92

 

In June 1946, Dyer began to use Musial as a first baseman….when the Cardinals finished the season tied with the Dodgers….which prompted a three-game playoff for the pennant….as Musial’s Game 1 triple and Game 2 double contributed to the Cardinals’ two-games-to-none series victory. Facing the Boston Red Sox, the Cardinals won the 1946 World Series four games to three….as Musial had six hits and four RBI….after a season in which he batted .365 for the season….and won his 2nd NL MVP Award….while receiving 22 out of a possible 24 first-place votes….and finishing ahead of Brooklyn’s Dixie Walker (.319 batting average).  Musial began the 1947 season by hitting .146 in April.  On May 9, team doctor Dr. Robert Hyland confirmed a previous diagnosis of appendicitis, while discovering that Musial was concurrently suffering from tonsillitis…..and albeit he received treatment….but did not have either his appendix or tonsils surgically removed until after the season ended….and despite his health woes, he finished the year with a batting average of .312.

 

MLB – 1946 – World Series Highlights – Boston Red Sox Vs St Louis Cardinals

 

Fully recovered from his ailments, Musial recorded his 1,000th career hit on April 25, 1948….and after a May 7th St. Louis Globe-Democrat article criticized baseball players for appearing in cigarette advertisements, he made a personal decision to never again appear in such ads.  By June 24, his batting average was .408….which  prompted Brooklyn pitcher Preacher Roe to comically announce his new method for retiring Musial….“Walk him on four pitches and pick him off first.”  Given a mid-season pay raise by new Cardinals owner Robert E. Hannegan for his outstanding performance, Musial hit a home run in the All-Star Game.  On September 22, he registered five hits in a game for the fourth time in the season, tying a mark set by Ty Cobb in 1922.  “He missed tying for the top in homers by one rained out home run.  If it had counted, he would have won the Triple Crown that year…and in addition have been the only player of this century to lead the league in runs, hits, double, triples, and slugging percentage. What a year!”….said sportswrite Bob Broeg on Musial’s 1948 season….as Musial finished the 1948 season leading the major leagues in batting average at .376….hits at 230…. doubles at 46….triples at 18….total bases at 429…. and slugging percentage at .702….while winning the NL batting title by a 43-point margin….with an on-base percentage lead of 27 points….and a 138-point slugging percentage margin….with the latter being the largest gap since Rogers Hornsby’s 1925 season….as Stan the Man became the 1st player to win three NL MVP awards.  If a home run he hit during a rained out game had been counted in his season totals, he would have won the Triple Crown by leading the NL in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.

 

MLB – 2017 – Special – 13 Greatest Hitters In Baseball History – Featuring At  # 5 Stan Musial

 

Anticipating life after his baseball career, Musial began the first of several business partnerships with Julius “Biggie” Garagnani in January 1949…. when they opened “Stan Musial & Biggie’s” restaurant.  He approached the 1949 season with the intent to try to hit more home runs, stating he had hit 39 the previous season “without really trying”….but his new focus on hitting for power backfired….as pitchers began using the outside part of the plate to induce him to ground out to the 1st or 2nd baseman.  Musial soon stopped focusing on hitting home runs and resumed his consistent offensive production by the end of May.  He received his sixth consecutive All-Star player selection….and finished the season leading the NL in hits with 207….while playing in every game. However, the Cardinals, with 96 wins, finished one game behind the Dodgers.  In the late 1940’s, when baseball was slowly becoming integrated….as Musial along with his roommate Red Schoendienst would be lauded by newcomers such as Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe for their tolerance. “They never…had the need to sit in the dugout and call a black guy a bunch of names”, Newcombe said, “because he was trying to change the game and make it what it should have been in the 1st place, a game for all people.”                                                                                             

 

MLB & Music – 2011 – Terry Cashman – “Talkin’ Baseball In St Lou”

 

Musial began the 1950’s by posting a .350 batting average before participating in the 1950 All-Star Game….where in fan balloting he was the NL’s # 2 choice…..when he had the longest hitting streak of his career during the 1950 season….with a 30-game stretch that ended on July 27th.  With the Cardinals falling 14 games out of 1st place by September…. that is when manager Dyer began using him at 1st base and all three outfield positions….then in 1951, that is when new Cardinals manager Marty Marion  led the team to a 3rd-place finish….while Musial led the National League with a .355 batting average…. 355 total bases….124 runs….and 12 triples…..and  finished 2nd in NL MVP voting for the 3rd year in a row….while he was named The Sporting News Major League Player of the Year….which prompted Ty Cobb to say in a 1952 Life Magazine article that, “No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today…. He plays as hard when his club is away out in front of a game as he does when they’re just a run or two behind.”…..when  National media attention inadvertently turned to Musial a month before the 1952 season began, after Ty Cobb wrote an article regarding modern baseball players that was published in the magazine….where Cobb singled out Musial and Phil Rizzuto as the only players “who can be mentioned in the same breath with the oldtime greats” Cobb went on to refer to Musial as “a better player than Joe DiMaggio was in his prime.”  In response, Musial displayed his characteristic modesty, saying, “Cobb is baseball’s greatest. I don’t want to contradict him, but I can’t say that I was ever as good as Joe DiMaggio.”  The only major league pitching appearance of Musial’s career occurred as a publicity stunt during the last Cardinals home game of the 1952 season….when  Manager Eddie Stanky had a reluctant Musial pitch to Frank Baumholtz….who was the runner-up to Musial for the best batting average in the NL that season. With Baumholtz batting right-handed for the 1st time in his career….as Musial’s 1st pitch was hit so hard it ricocheted off the shin of 3rd baseman Solly Hemus and into the left field corner.  The play was ruled an error, and Musial was embarrassed enough by his complicity in the gimmick to avoid pitching again for the remainder of his career.

 

MLB – May 13, 1958 – MLB Special – St Louis Cardinals 1B Stan Musial Records His 3000th Hit – With Harry Carey On the Call

 

The Cardinals franchise was up for sale in early 1953, and Musial and Schoendienst advised their friend and fellow duck-hunter Gussie Busch to consider buying the team….when Busch used the resources of the Anheuser-Busch company to purchase the Cardinals….which kept Musial in St. Louis by averting the possibility of a move by the team to another city.  The 1953 season marked Musial’s 10th NL All-Star selection….and the 12th consecutive time he finished a major league season with a batting average above .300.  Musial accomplished another historical feat on May 2, 1954, in a doubleheader in St. Louis against the New York Giants….when he hit three home runs in the first contest….then added two more in the second to become the first major leaguer to hit five home runs in a doubleheader.  In addition to his five home runs, he also hit a single in the 1st game….thus setting a new record of 21 total bases for a doubleheader.  The only player besides Musial to hit five home runs in a doubleheader is Nate Colbert….who achieved the feat in 1972….and oddly enough, as a young child, Colbert was in attendance as Musial set his record.

 

MLB – 1981 – Sports Profile TV With Hosts John Andariese and Dave DeBuscherre Interview Of Pete Rose & Stan Musial – On Day Rose Broke Musial’s NL Hit Record

 

Musial made his 12th NL All-Star appearance in 1955 as a reserve player….when Cincinnati’s Ted Kluszewski outpolled him by 150,000 votes to get on the starting lineup at 1st base….when Musial entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 4th inning….and played left field as the game entered extra innings….when leading off the bottom of the 12th, he hit a home run to give the NL a 6–5 victory.  The 1956 season marked another milestone for Musial….when he broke Mel Ott’s NL record for extra-base hits on August 12th.  Earlier that season, Cardinals general manager “Trader Frank” Lane began negotiations to trade him for Philadelphia pitcher Robin Roberts….but when Cardinals owner Gussie Busch learned of the possible move, he made it clear that Musial was not available for any trade….so, instead, Lane dealt Musial’s close friend Schoendienst to the New York Giants….as an upset Musial made no immediate comment to the press.                                                                                                                

MLB – 1955 – All Star Game – Featuring Cards Stan “The Man” Musial Walk-Off Home Run In Bottom Of 12th Inning

 

On June 11, 1957, Musial tied the NL record for consecutive games played with his 822nd….which was a streak that began on the last day of the 1951 season.  Despite ballot stuffing by Cincinnati Reds fans, he was selected and played in the All-Star Game held at Sportsman’s Park….then when he overextended his swing while batting during a game on August 23rd….that was when Musial fractured a bone in his left shoulder socket and tore muscles over his collarbone.  He was unable to play again until September 8th….thus ending his consecutive games-played streak at 895.  He finished 1957 as Sports Illustrateds “Sportsman of the Year”.  Musial signed one of the 1st $100,000 contracts in NL history on January 29, 1958….as according to Baseball Almanac, Hank Greenberg was the 1st with Pittsburgh in 1947…..when he quickly demonstrated a return on the investment by sharing with Willie Mays the inaugural (and for the only time in Musial’s career) NL Player of the Month in May….as no such award was given in April until 1969….while batting .374, with 4 HR, and 16 RBI….and also that month, as he was approaching the 3,000-hit milestone in his major league career….when he expressed a desire to record the hit in St. Louis….but he ultimately reached the mark with a pinch-hit, 6th inning RBI double at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on May 13th….as the 8th major league player to reach 3,000 hits….and the 1st to reach the milestone with an extra-base hit….as Musial was greeted at St. Louis Union Station that evening by roughly 1,000 fans. Finishing the season in 6th place, the Cardinals embarked on an exhibition tour of Japan, winning 14 of 16 games against top players from the Central and Pacific Japanese Leagues.                                                                                     

MLB – 1957 – All Star Game – Featuring Stan Musial Scoring On A Willie Mays Triple

Taking a new approach to preparation for the 1959 season, Musial was given permission to report late to spring training so that he might conserve his energy for the duration of the year….as Musial, at 6 feet (180 cm) tall, had maintained a weight of around 175 pounds (79 kg) throughout his career. He reported to spring training approximately 10 pounds (4.5 kg) overweight and in substandard physical condition….and he began the season with one hit in 15 at-bats….but despite his early offensive struggles, he single-handedly spoiled potential no-hitters on April 16th and 19th….and a  game-winning home run on May 7th made him the 1st major league player ever with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.  As he continued to hit at a relatively low pace, his playing time was limited by Cardinals manager Solly Hemus at various points during the season.  Seeking more revenue for the players’ pension fund, Major League Baseball held two All-Star games in a season for the first time through 1962….as Musial made his 16th All-Star appearance (16th season) and pinch-hit in both contests….while flying out in the July 7th game and drawing a walk in the August 3rd game.  He finished the season with 115 regular game appearances, a .255 batting average, 37 runs, and a slugging percentage of .428.  On June 30, 1959, Musial was the batter in one of the oddest plays in baseball history….when in a game between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, he was at the plate with a count of 3–1….as Bob Anderson’s next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop…..when Umpire Vic Delmore called ball four…while Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial had foul tipped the ball….and because the ball was still in play….as Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher….so, Musial kept running in attempt to make 2nd base….when seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball….as the ball wound up in the hands of field announcer Pat Pieper….but Dark ended up getting it back anyway….when absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor…..as Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for 2nd, took the new ball, and threw it to 2nd baseman Tony Taylor….as Anderson’s throw flew over Taylor’s head into the outfield….while Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks….as Musial did not see Dark’s throw and only noticed Anderson’s ball fly over the 2nd baseman’s head….so he tried to go to 3rd base….and on his way there, he was tagged by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out.                                                                                                                    

 

MLB – 1962 – All Star Game Highlights – Featuring Stan Musial’s 6th Inning Base Hit In His 22nd All Star Game

 

Based on his 1959 performance, Musial accepted a pay cut in 1960 from his previous $100,000 salary to $80,000….when he was eager to prove that his mediocre performance was the result of improper physical conditioning….and he enlisted the help of Walter Eberhardt, Saint Louis University’s director of physical education.  In June 1960, newspaper articles began speculating that Musial would soon retire….yet he finished the season with a .275 batting average.  He addressed the speculation in September, confirming that he would play again in 1961….when his .288 batting average that season reaffirmed his decision….then in 1962, Musial posted a .330 batting average….which was good for 3rd in the batting race….with 19 homers….and 82 RBI.  As a pinch-hitter, he had 14 base hits in 19 at-bats for a .737 average…..while along the way, he established new NL career marks for hits and RBI.  That same year on July 8th, the 41-year-old Musial became the oldest player ever to hit three home runs in one game.

 

 

MLB – 1941 To 1963 – MLB.com Special – Stan Musial – Hall of Fame Biography

 

The Cardinals began 1963 by winning 10 of their first 15 games, as Musial posted a .237 batting average….when he set a new major league record for career extra-base hits on May 8th….and improved his batting average to .277 by the end of the month….while making his 20th All-Star appearance….and 24th All-Star Game appearance on July 9, 1963….when he pinch-hit in the 5th inning.  Asked by general manager Bing Devine on July 26 what his plans were, Musial said that he would retire at season’s end.  He waited until the Cardinals team picnic on August 12th to publicly announce his decision, hopeful he could retire on a winning note….then Musial became a grandfather for the 1st time in the early hours of September 10th….when later that day, he hit a home run in his 1st at-bat….when after sweeping a doubleheader on September 15th, the Cardinals had won 19 of their last 20 games….and were one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers then swept the Cardinals in a three-game series in St. Louis and clinched the NL pennant on September 25th….as  Musial’s last game, on September 29, 1963, was preceded by an hour-long retirement ceremony.   Speakers at the event included baseball commissioner Ford Frick, Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray, and Cardinals owner Gussie Busch…. who announced that Musial’s uniform # 6 would be retired by the team.  During the game, Musial recorded a single in the 4th inning….then hit a single to right field that scored teammate Curt Flood in the 6th….when Cardinals manager Johnny Keane brought in Gary Kolb as a pinch-runner for Musial….thus, bringing his major league career to an end.  Just as he had recorded two base hits in his major league debut, Musial finished his last game with two hits, as well….when Stan The Man finished with the all-time National League hits record and 2nd to only Ty Cobb on the all-time Major League list….as Musial’s last career hit was just out of reach of Cincinnati Reds 2nd baseman Pete Rose….who would go on to break Cobb’s record to become baseball’s all-time hit king.                                                                                                                

 

MLB – 1963 – Special Highlight – “Stan Musial’s Final Time At The Plate” – Cardinals Vs Reds

 

At the time of his retirement, Musial held or shared 17 major league records….29 NL records….and 9 All-Star Game records….when among those records, he ranked as the major league career leader in extra-base hits with 1,377….and total bases with 6,134….as he also held NL career marks in categories such as hits with 3,630….games played with 3,026….doubles with 725….and RBI with 1,951….while he finished his career with 475 home runs despite never having led the NL in the category.  Jerry Lansche speculates Musial would likely have become the second player, after Babe Ruth, with 2,000 RBI….and would have exceeded 500 career home runs had he not served in the military.  His lowest full season RBI output before the war was 72 in 1942….and since he needed only 49 RBI to reach 2,000 for his full career….then he certainly would have exceeded 2,000 RBI by playing without injury in 1945….whereas, his home run production is a different story….as it is highly unlikely he would have reached 500….especially since he did not hit more than 13 home runs in any season before he entered the navy….and he did not hit as many as 25….which he would have needed to become a 500 career homer club member until 1948….which was 3 years after returning to baseball from World War II.  His career hit total was evenly split between 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 hits on the road.                                                                

 

MLB – July 8, 1963 – This Day In Baseball Special – Stan Musial Hits 4th Straight Home Run At Age 41

He was the first major league player to appear in more than 1,000 games at two different positions, registering 1,896 games in the outfield and 1,016 at first base.  Since Musial’s retirement in 1963, Tony Gwynn has been the only player to finish his career with a higher lifetime batting average. Hank Aaron has been the only player to surpass his record of 6,134 total bases.  In Musial’s 3,026 major league appearances, he was never ejected from a game. Speaking about his quiet reputation within the sport’s history, sportscaster  Bob Costas said, “He didn’t hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn’t hit in 56 straight games. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her. … All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being.”                                

 

MLB – 2013 – Special Tribute – Stan Musial Eulogy By Bob Costas – “Remembering The Man”                                                                                                      

Musial was named a vice president of the St. Louis Cardinals in September 1963, and he remained in that position until after the 1966 season.  From February 1964 to January 1967, he also served as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s physical fitness adviser, a part-time position created to promote better fitness among American citizens.  Before the 1967 season began, the Cardinals named Musial the team’s general manager, and he oversaw the club’s World Series championship that year….as he won the allegiance of Cardinals players by making fair offers from the outset of player-contract negotiations and creating an in-stadium babysitting service so players’ wives could attend games.  His longtime business partner, Biggie Garagnani, died in June 1967, prompting Musial to devote more time to managing his restaurant and other business interests.  He came to realize that the detail-oriented desk job was not his forte. He consequently decided to step down as general manager, before even completing a full year on the job.                       

 

MLB – 2018 – Special – Hank Aaron Reflects On His Friend Stan Musial

Stan The Man—like Phil Linz—was noted for his harmonica playing…. which included his rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”….when throughout the 1990;s, he frequently played the harmonica at public gatherings, such as the annual Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony and various charity events….then he appeared on the television show Hee Haw in 1985….and in 1994 recorded 18 songs that were sold in tandem with a harmonica-playing instruction booklet.

 

MLB & Music – 2013 – Baseball Hall Of Fame Ceremony – Stan Musial Plays “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” On His Harmonica

 

Musial met Lillian Susan Labash, the daughter of a local grocer, in Donora when both were 15….and married her in St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 25, 1940….then they had four children with son Richard, and daughters Gerry, Janet, and Jeanie.  Lillian Musial died at 91, on May 3, 2012….as their marriage had lasted for almost 72 years.                      

 

MLB – 1940 To 2012 – Special – Stan Musial Biography Movie – “To Lil: The Woman Behind The Man”

 

On August 4, 1968, a statue of Musial was erected outside of Busch Memorial Stadium on the northeast grounds of the St. Louis stadium.  The statue was moved from its original location to the west side of the new Busch Stadium for its 1st season in 2006….where it became a popular meeting place for generations of Cardinals fans. Musial’s statue is inscribed with a quote attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick: “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.”  In 1968, Musial received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.  Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1969….when he was named on 93.2% of the ballots….then on June 14, 1973 he was the 1st inductee into the National Polish-American Hall of Fame, housed at St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan…..and in 1989, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.  Five years later, a baseball field was named after him in his hometown of Donora.  He was ranked 10th on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players published in 1998.  He was also one of the 30 players selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team….while being added by a special committee after he finished 11th in fan voting among outfielders.  In 2000, he was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians…. and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol.   In January 2014, the Cardinals announced Musial among 22 former players and personnel to be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for the inaugural class of 2014.                                  

 

MLB – 2002 – Special Interview With Stan Musial – On His Induction In The Baseball Hall Of Fame

 

Nearly two decades after Musial retired, baseball statistician Bill James and the sabermetrics movement began providing new ways of comparing players across baseball history.  In 2001, James ranked Musial the 10th-greatest baseball player in history….and the 2nd-best left fielder of all time.  According to Baseball-Reference.com, he ranks 5th all-time among hitters on the Black Ink Test….and 3rd all-time on the Gray Ink Test….which are measures designed to compare players of different eras….plus, he ranks 1st on Baseball-Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor Test….and is tied for 2nd in the Hall of Fame Career Standards Test.  Despite his statistical accomplishments, he is sometimes referred to as the most underrated or overlooked athlete in modern American sports history.  For instance, in his analysis of baseball’s under- and overrated players in 2007, sportswriter Jayson Stark said, “I can’t think of any all-time great in any sport who gets left out of more who’s-the-greatest conversations than Stan Musial.”  Musial threw out the first pitch in the fifth game of the 2006 World Series and delivered the ceremonial first pitch ball to President Barack Obama at the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.  A “Stan the Man” day was held in his honor by the Cardinals on May 18, 2008…..plus, in 2010, another one of the Cardinals’ greatest sluggers,  Albert Pujols, whose nickname was “El Hombre”, said he didn’t want to be called “The Man”, even in Spanish, because “There is one man that gets that respect, and that is Stan Musial.”Also in 2010, the Cardinals launched a campaign to build support for awarding Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of achievement and service.  The campaign realized its goal, and on February 15, 2011 when Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama,  who called him “an icon untarnished, a beloved pillar of the community, a gentleman you’d want your kids to emulate.”                   

 

 MLB – 1941 To 1963 – St Louis Sports Hall Of Fame Special Film – The Career Of Stan “The Man” Musial

 

In concluding this tribute to Stan the Man Musial…. I harken back to the days from 1953 to 1963 during the Louisiana Street Whiffleball League in Midland, Texas….when young boys from the neighborhood would gather in the back yards of their various homes on various days to play a game that they loved….while make believing they were their favorite baseball heroes playing in the biggest games of their careers….when in their world of magic they could be Stan the Man …..as baseball’s perfect warrior and baseball’s perfect knight on stage with The Mick….The Splendid Splinter….The Sey Hey Kid….Yogi….Hammerin’ Hank….The Killer….Stretch….Roberto….or Duke….in duels that determined who was King of the Block….for these were the times that dreams were made of….and without question, Stan Musial held up his end of the bargain at the highest level.

 

MLB – May 18, 2008 – Special – Stan Musial Day Ceremony At Busch Stadium

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button