The baseball world lost a second legend on Saturday with the news Hall of Fame outfielder Stan Musial died in hospice care at age 92.
Musial, appropriately nicknamed “The Man”, spent his entire 22-season major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals. At the time of his retirement in 1963 he held or shared 17 major league records, and even nearly 50 years later he is still in the top-10 all-time in hits (fourth-3,630), RBI (sixth-1,951), total bases (second-6,134), doubles (third-725) and runs scored (ninth-1,949).
Musial’s outstanding individual numbers do not end there, as he had a .331 career batting average and 475 home runs on his way to winning seven National League batting titles. He was a three-time National League MVP (1943, 1946, 1948), and finished runner-up four other times (1949-1951, 1957) as well. He missed a full season in 1945 while serving in the United States Navy during World War II, so his numbers could have been even loftier if not for that.
Musial was also part of three World Series-winning teams for the Cardinals, so it was not surprising that he earned election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year eligible in 1969 and was named on over 93 percent of ballots.
It what can only be called statistical anomalies due to the power he displayed over a lengthy career, Musial never led the National League in home runs and his career best for round-trippers in a season was 39 during his third MVP season in 1948. It’s also noteworthy he never struck out 50 times in any season during his career, and he only struck out 40 or more times in a season three times.
When baseball’s all-time greats are listed or mentioned, it usually takes a long time for even the most educated baseball follower to get to Musial. He did not court public attention or draw attention due to any on-field theatrics, which would certainly hold true if he played now and may actually make him stand out among today’s players.