by STEVE DUNN
This weekend one of baseball’s greats, Stan Musial died. Although he played for the small market St. Louis Cardinals, Musial left a deep impact on America’s game. Unlike today’s “business” side of baseball, Stan played his entire 22 season career with the same team. During that time he won seven batting titles, five NL MVP awards, and helped his team win .three World Series. His career batting average was an astonishing .331. He was an Allstar 20 of his 22 years as a major leaguer.
His final game was September 29, 1962 at age 42 and in 1969 he received 317 votes on the 340 ballots cast to be named the the baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
But there was more to the man who went by the name “The Man.” He served his country in World War II and in 2011 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Although a superstar, he was a man of humility and hospitality, graciously representing his franchise and baseball. He was “notorious” for his approachability as a person and his encouragement of young players.
One, named Albert Pujols, remembers Stan this way: “There will never be anyone else wearing that Cardinal uniform who will be the face of the franchise. You can talk (about his accomplishments) but the man himself is what made him so great. What he did for his community, for his country, that’s what made him so special.”
When Pujols became a Los Angeles Angel last season, he found his new team marketing him as “El Hombre”, which infuriated the Latino star. “There is only one baseball player that should be called The Man … Musial.” The Angels cancelled the marketing.