Stan" the man"Musial passes away

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    Stan" the man"Musial passes away

    Sadly,baseball has lost another icon.Rest in peace.Fron ESPN.com:

    ST. LOUIS -- Stan Musial, one of baseball's greatest hitters and a Hall of Famer with the St. Louis Cardinals for more than two decades, died Saturday. He was 92.

    Stan the Man won seven National League batting titles, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s.

    The Cardinals announced Musial's death in a news release. They said he died Saturday evening at his home in Ladue surrounded by family. The team said Musial's son-in-law, Dave Edmonds, informed the club of Musial's death.

    "It is a very sad day for me," Willie Mays told ESPN's Willie Weinbaum of Outside The Lines at the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner in New York. "I knew Stan very well. He used to take care of me at All-Star games, 24 of them. He was a true gentleman who understood the race thing and did all he could. Again, a true gentleman on and off the field -- I never heard anybody say a bad word about him, ever."

    Musial was so revered in St. Louis, two statues of him stand outside Busch Stadium. He spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times -- baseball held two All-Star games each summer for a few seasons.

    A pitcher in the low minors until he injured his arm, Musial turned to playing the outfield and first base. It was a stroke of luck for him, as he went on to hit .331 with 475 home runs before retiring in 1963.

    Widely considered the greatest Cardinals player ever, the outfielder and first baseman was the first person in team history to have his number retired. Ol' 6 probably was the most popular, too, especially after Albert Pujols skipped town.

    At the suggestion of a pal, actor John Wayne, he carried around autographed cards of himself to give away. He enjoyed doing magic tricks for kids and was fond of pulling out a harmonica to entertain crowds with a favorite, "The Wabash Cannonball."

    Humble, scandal-free, and eager to play every day, Musial struck a chord with fans throughout the Midwest and beyond. For much of his career, St. Louis was the most western outpost in the majors, and the Cardinals' vast radio network spread word about him in all directions.

    Farmers in the field and families on the porch would tune in, as did a future president -- Bill Clinton recalled doing his homework listening to Musial's exploits.

    Musial's public appearances dwindled in recent years, though he took part in the pregame festivities at Busch during the 2011 postseason as the Cardinals won the World Series. And he was at the White House in February 2011 when President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor for contributions to society.

    He certainly delivered at the plate.

    Musial never struck out 50 times in a season. He led the NL in most every hitting category for at least one year, except homers. He hit a career-high 39 home runs in 1948, falling one short of winning the Triple Crown.

     

    In all, Musial held 55 records when he retired in 1963. Fittingly, the accolades on his his bronze Hall plaque start off with this fact, rather than flowery prose: "Holds many National League records ..."

    He played nearly until 43rd birthday, adding to his totals. He got a hit with his final swing, sending an RBI single past Cincinnati's rookie second baseman -- that was Pete Rose, who would break Musial's league hit record of 3,630 some 18 years later.

    Of those hits, Musial got exactly 1,815 at home and exactly 1,815 on the road. He also finished with 1,951 RBIs and scored 1,949 runs.

    All that balance despite a most unorthodox left-handed stance. Legs and knees close together, he would cock the bat near his ear and twist his body away from the pitcher. When the ball came, he uncoiled.

    Unusual, that aspect of Musial.

    Asked to describe the habits that kept him in baseball for so long, Musial once said: "Get eight hours of sleep regularly. Keep your weight down, run a mile a day. If you must smoke, try light cigars. They cut down on inhaling."

    One last thing, he said: "Make it a point to bat .300."

    Musial gave the press little to write about beyond his grace and greatness on the field. He didn't date movie stars, spike opponents or chew out reporters or umpires.

    In 1958, he reached the 3,000-hit level and became the NL's first $100,000-a-year player. Years earlier, he had turned down a huge offer to join the short-lived Mexican League. He never showed resentment over the multimillion dollar salaries of modern players. He thought they had more fun in his days.

    "I enjoyed coming to the ballpark every day and I think we enjoyed the game," Musial said in a 1991 Associated Press interview. "We had a lot of train travel, so we had more time together. We socialized quite a bit and we'd go out after ball games."

    He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, his first year of eligibility.

    "It was, you know, a dream come true," Musial once said. "I always wanted to be a ballplayer."

    After retiring as a player, Musial served for years in the Cardinals' front office, including as general manager in 1967, when the Cardinals won the World Series.

    In the 1970s, Musial occasionally played in Old-Timers' Day games and could still line the ball to the wall. He was a fixture for decades at the Cooperstown induction ceremonies and also was a member of the Hall's Veterans Committee. Often, after the Vets panel had voted, he'd pull out a harmonica conveniently located in his jacket pocket and lead the other members in a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

    Into the 2000s, Musial would spend time with the Cardinals at spring training, thrilling veterans and rookies alike with his stories.

    Ever ready, he performed the national anthem on his harmonica at least one opening day at Busch Stadium. Musial learned his music during overnight train trips in the 1940s and in the 1990s was a member of a trio known as "Geriatric Jazz" and collaborated on a harmonica instructional book.

    Stanley Frank Musial was born in Donora, Pa., on Nov. 21, 1920, son of a Polish immigrant steelworker. He began his minor league career straight out of high school, in June 1938, and soon after married Musial married high school sweetheart Lillian Labash, with whom he four children.

    Musial fell in 1940 while trying to make a tough catch and hurt his left arm, damaging his pitching prospects. Encouraged by minor league manager Dickie Kerr to try playing outfield, he did so well in 1941 that the Cardinals moved him up to the majors in mid-September -- and he racked up a .426 average during the final weeks of the season.

    In his best year, 1948, he had four five-hit games, hit 39 home runs and batted .376, best in the National League. He also led his league that year in runs scored (135), hits (230), total bases (429), doubles (46), and triples (18).

    In 1954, he set a major league record with five home runs in a doubleheader against the New York Giants. He hit .300 or better in 16 consecutive seasons and hit a record home runs in All-Star play, including a 12th-inning, game-winning shot in 1955.

    In 1962, at age 41, he batted .330 and hit 19 home runs. In his final game, on Sept. 29, 1963, he had two hits at Busch Stadium against the Reds and the Cardinals retired his uniform number.

    By the time Musial was done in 1963, he earned a total of $1.25 million, an MLB record by a single player at that time.

    Musial took a paycut in 1960 after he dropped below .300 for the first time in 1959. He never made more than the $100,000 he made in 1958 and 1959.

    He was active in business, too. He served as a director of the St. Louis-based Southwest Bank. He was co-owner of a popular St. Louis steakhouse, "Stan Musial and Biggie's," and a bowling alley with former teammate Joe Garagiola (leading to a bitter fallout that eventually got resolved). He later ran Stan the Man Inc., specializing in merchandise he autographed. Musial was known for handing out folded $1 bills.

    Musial's endorsements included Chesterfield's Cigarettes, Wonder Bread, Wheaties, Rawlings, Beech-Nut Gum and Hamm's Beer.

    A prominent Polish-American, he was a charter member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame and was warmly regarded by his ancestral country, which in 2000 dedicated Stan Musial Stadium in Kutno, Poland. Musial also was involved politically, campaigning for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and serving as Lyndon Johnson's director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness.

    As for how he did that, Musial offered a secret.

    "I consciously memorized the speed at which every pitcher in the league threw his fastball, curve, and slider," he said. "Then, I'd pick up the speed of the ball in the first 30 feet of its flight and knew how it would move once it has crossed the plate."

    It worked pretty well, considering Musial began his baseball career as a pitcher in the low minors. And by his account, as he said during his induction speech in Cooperstown, an injury had left him as a "dead, left-handed pitcher just out of Class D."

     

    Hoping to still reach the majors, he turned toward another position. It was just what he needed.

    Musial made his major league debut late in 1941, the season that Ted Williams batted .406 for the Boston Red Sox and Joe DiMaggio hit in a record 56 straight games for the New York Yankees.

    Musial never expressed regret or remorse that he didn't attract more attention than the cool DiMaggio or prickly Williams. Fact is, Musial was plenty familiar in every place he played.

    Few could bring themselves to boo baseball's nicest superstar, not even the Brooklyn Dodgers crowds that helped give him his nickname, a sign of weary respect for his .359 batting average at Ebbets Field.

    Many, many years before any sports fans yelled "You're the man!" at their favorite athletes, Stan was indeed the Man.

    Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe once joked about how to handle Musial: "I throw him four wide ones and then I try to pick him off first base."

    Brooklynites had another reason to think well of Musial: Unlike Enos Slaughter and other Cardinal teammates, he was supportive when the Dodgers' Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Bob Gibson, who started out with the Cardinals in the late 1950s, would recall how Musial had helped established a warm atmosphere between blacks and whites on the team.

     

    Like DiMaggio and Williams, Musial embodied a time when the greats stayed with one team. He joined the Cardinals during the last remnants of the Gas House Gang and stayed in St. Louis until Gibson and Curt Flood ushered in a new era of greatness.

    The only year Musial missed with the Cardinals was 1945, when he was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was based in Pearl Harbor, assigned to a unit that helped with ship repair.

    Before and after his military service, he was a star hitter.

    Musial was the NL MVP in 1943, 1946 and 1948, and was runner-up four other years. He enjoyed a career remarkably free of slumps, controversies or rivalries.

    The Cardinals were dominant early in Musial's career. They beat DiMaggio and the Yankees in the 1942 World Series, lost to the Yankees the next year and defeated the St. Louis Browns in 1944. In 1946, the Cardinals beat Williams and the visiting Red Sox in Game 7 at Sportsman's Park.

    Musial, mostly a left fielder then, starred with Terry Moore in center and Slaughter, another future Hall of Famer, in right, making up one of baseball's greatest outfields. Later on, Musial would switch between the outfield and first base.

    Musial never played on another pennant winner after 1946. Yet even after the likes of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron came to the majors, Musial remained among baseball's best.

    The original Musial statue outside the new Busch Stadium is a popular meeting place before games and carries this inscription: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."

    "Everybody's a Musial fan," former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog once said.

    Musial's versatility was immortalized in verse, by popular poet of the times Ogden Nash, who in "The Tycoon" wrote of the Cardinals star and entrepreneur:

    "And, between the slugging and the greeting,

    To the bank for a directors' meeting.

    Yet no one grudges success to Stan,

    Good citizen and family man,

    Though I would love to have his job

    One half tycoon, one half Ty Cobb."

     
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  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ThatWasMe. Show ThatWasMe's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to LR3683paw's comment:

    I have many fine memories of Musial in my youth following baseball. My first baseball glove that my Dad bought for me was a glove signed by him. My first bat was an Al Kaline bat. We only saw a game per week back in those days but I vividly remember Musial playing.

      The news back then was limited but you had radio through transistor radios and enjoyed every minute of it. No Internet, no ability to watch 154 games ( back then)  or perfect cable or satellite TV. Before my time they listened on crystal sets or vacuum tube radios. Just listening and enjoying the games with no avenue to debate, argue, or opine on what the owners, GMs, or manager was doing wrong. Just relaxing and enjoying the game, the cards that you were dealt. No conflict. Just a person listening to the radio without the need to argue.




    My first glove as a boy from my Stepfather was a Rawlings Stan Musial model too..

    What a class act and a great baseball player.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from notin. Show notin's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     Bill Clinton recalled doing his homework listening to Musial's exploits.

    Quite pathetic how poliitcs are injected into this obituary. Clinton and Obama have about as much to do with this as they do with integrity.




    So does this mean we get to fillet anyone who injects politics into a thread inappropriately?

     

    And when I say "fillet," I am not being figurattive...

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     Bill Clinton recalled doing his homework listening to Musial's exploits.

    Quite pathetic how poliitcs are injected into this obituary. Clinton and Obama have about as much to do with this as they do with integrity.



    Sorry, Softy, but to pick on these brief details of this joyous recount out of the blue says volumes.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Stan

    A great article on one of the great lives ever lived; reading about how he played his harmonica at the HOF to play "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" nearly brought me to tears.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from SinceYaz. Show SinceYaz's posts

    Re: Stan

    I never got to see him play, but that is not an issue.  He was spoken of with baseball reverance even in my earliest days.

    RIP, Stan

     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from SonicsMonksLyresVicars. Show SonicsMonksLyresVicars's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     

     

    If Musial's heroes were Moses, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Ronald Reagan and WBF, Jr., he would have been disparaged via mass media publication.

    The coward who wrote this obituary is full of foolish pride and prejudice.

      




    World B. Free?

     
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    Re: Stan

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     

    Meta Worldpeace?  Barry Obama? Fitty Cents?

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Who is WBF Jr?  And it's Fiddy, isn't it, you hipster you?

     
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  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     

    All of the federal identity politics are injected:

    Race

    Ethnicity

    Obama

    Clinton

    How Robinson was treated by some players for the Cardinals

    Prickly Williams

    Cool Dimagio

    LBJ

    JFK

     

    If Musial's heroes were Moses, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Ronald Reagan and WBF, Jr., he would have been disparaged via mass media publication.

    The coward who wrote this obituary is full of foolish pride and prejudice.

     

      

     



    Those topics were mentioned in a good way. Otherwise, despite our differences, while I'm probably one of the few posters who sometimes enjoys your well written controversial posts,  this is a new low, even for you, in hijacking this feel good thread about a great life.

     

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to nhsteven's comment:

     

    In response to Softlaw1's comment:

     

    All of the federal identity politics are injected:

    Race

    Ethnicity

    Obama

    Clinton

    How Robinson was treated by some players for the Cardinals

    Prickly Williams

    Cool Dimagio

    LBJ

    JFK

     

    If Musial's heroes were Moses, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Ronald Reagan and WBF, Jr., he would have been disparaged via mass media publication.

    The coward who wrote this obituary is full of foolish pride and prejudice.

     

      

     

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

     




    And in that case, it is likely some of those would have been mentioned in the article without fanfare by anyone on this forum. TW was a stout Republican, to the point where he refused an invitation by JFK to to the Rose Garden. You think when he passed someone would have ostracized the writer about that or his ties to GHW Bush & other Republicans if it was mentioned in his obit? Ridiculous.

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: Stan

    Unfortunately for me, Stan "The Man" Musial played before my time. But as someone who loves baseball and its history, I certainly knew he was one of the all-time greats. They just don't come any better than him, not as a player, but most importantly, not as a human being. A true sportsman in every sense of the word.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from mrmojo1120. Show mrmojo1120's posts

    Re: Stan

    Now I remember why I don't post here often.Taking a thread about a great baseball player's passing and turning into thread about politics Pretty damn sad.

    SMH

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from ampoule. Show ampoule's posts

    Re: Stan

    Musial, like Yastrzemski, was also proudly inducted in the Polish Hall of Fame. 

    That makes me proud.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to ampoule's comment:

    Musial, like Yastrzemski, was also proudly inducted in the Polish Hall of Fame. 

    That makes me proud.



    What was criticized above as "ethnicity".

     
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    Re: Stan

    This is like when we lost Williams. One of the all-time greats.


    R.I.P. Stan The Man

     
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  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from ampoule. Show ampoule's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to nhsteven's comment:

    In response to ampoule's comment:

     

    Musial, like Yastrzemski, was also proudly inducted in the Polish Hall of Fame. 

    That makes me proud.

     



    What was criticized above as "ethnicity".

     




    Nothing...

    Being Polish, it just makes me happy.

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from LeftyGrove. Show LeftyGrove's posts

    Re: Stan

    In response to devildavid's comment:

    Unfortunately for me, Stan "The Man" Musial played before my time. But as someone who loves baseball and its history, I certainly knew he was one of the all-time greats. They just don't come any better than him, not as a player, but most importantly, not as a human being. A true sportsman in every sense of the word.



    When it was a game DVD series is a good way to watch Stan the Man and others of his era. I am old enough to remember him playing in his later years Early 60's. what a class act, loyal to a team, his fans, his community.  He is the kind of guy a kid and later the adult could admire. A rare breed, a true American Icon. Thanks for the memories, Stan.

     

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