Why is baseball such a great game? Ask Stan Musial that question during his life and he would have responded with Hall of Fame memories and wisdom that has now traveled with him to eternity. He passed at the age of 92 this weekend.
The St. Louis Cardinals signed Musial as a free agent in the 1938 amateur draft. That teenager broke into the big leagues in 1941. After appearing in 12 games that season, he would become one of the best players of his era and one of the greats of all-time. Not bad for a converted pitcher who walked away from the mound due to a shoulder injury.
Nicknames have been synonymous with this game since groups of men traveled across the country in the 1800s playing before gathered crowds on open fields. So, to be labeled “The Man” by your peers says it all in just two words.
Musial won seven National League batting titles. He also hit 475 home runs in his career, but was never a League-leader.
His combined .989 career fielding percentage was earned by playing 1,016 games at first base, 929 games in left field, 785 games in right field and 331 games in center field.
There’s so much more that could be highlighted, including the fact that he hit .376 in 1948. Including that season, he hit .330 or higher thirteen times. His OPS was 1.021, or higher, nine times.
He made 24 All-Star appearances, including playing in the mid-season classic for twenty consecutive years (for a period starting in the late 1950s, there were two All-Star games played each season). He also won the National League Most Valuable Player Award three times.
He received 93.2% of the vote and was inducted in Hall of Fame in 1969. Didn’t the other 6.8% realize what he accomplished? The rest of us surely do.
Together we will always honor this great man’s life and career. All hail, Stan “The Man” Musial.