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The Life and Times of Stan "The Man" Musial

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0


Stan Musial is one of the most celebrated professional baseball players that has over the years been celebrated. His name buzzed the baseball industry not just when he was in the field but also long after his retire since his records still stood unbroken. Stan Musial who was nicknamed "Stan the man" is considered as the greatest baseball hitters of all time.


Stan The Man


Born on November 21, 1920 in Donora, Pennsylvania, Stan Musial was the fifth born in a family of six that constituted four sisters and two brothers. The love of baseball began at an early age when he used to play with his brother. Joe Barbao neighbor to Stan's family, who was also a former minor league player, helped him a lot to know about the game. However, his official entry into competitive baseball began at age fifteen when he joined a semi professional team that was managed by Barbao called the Donora Zincs. The left handed hitter amazed many with his consistency when he struck out 13 batters who were all adults and pitched 6 innings in his debut for the Donora Zincs. Baseball was not the only game that Stan Musial was great at. His basketball prowess also landed him a scholarship to the University of Pittsburg but baseball was his preferred game.

Professional career
It wasn't until 1937 that Musial,  who was then sixteen, received his first contract offer. However, his father was not as enthusiastic.  He opposed the idea citing that Stan should first complete high school before going professional. It took the intervention of Stan's mother to get

the young Stan, the Man
his approval and finally Stan Musial was signed to St. Louis Cardinals. He was signed as a pitcher but later converted to an outfielder when baseball managers noticed he was a natural with the bat. 

Musial's career in baseball was not all smooth and he suffered very serious setbacks. One such a setback came when he fell and injured his arm badly in 1940. At this time he had already married his high school girlfriend in 1939 and he had one of his four children. Although he had an arm injury, his running and batting skills continued to be a head turner. This saw his transformation from a class D team to a player of a great major league team.

In 1941, while only 20 years old, he made his debut in the major leagues with the Cardinals. Musial's late contribution allowed the Cardinals to finish two and half games behind the Dodgers.  In his first full season with the St. Louis Cardinals they won the World Series and Stan the Man was the MVP.   He played for a total of 22 years before finally retiring in 1963.

In many ways Stan Musial was referred to as a legend. One of the important things to note is that Musial had a hitting percentage of .331 This was incredible since it doubled hits that some of the other renowned players of his time had in their own career. His career saw him appear in three world championships and also three national leagues. He was ranked in the top ten home runs, hits, total bases, doubles and also slugging percentages of all time. His unique batting
The Lefty Stance
style was studied by the professional to determine if it was something they could teach others to have the success Stan the Man had. 

Only a few in the history of baseball have been able to match up to his record. Hit total bases were 6,134 a record that only the incredible hank Aaron has passed. His hits scored is rated fourth of all time with a total of 3,630 hits in his name Rose and Aaron hold the top positions. His national league record remained unbeaten for 17 years in his career that he played 3,026 games for the cardinals. In all these games he was never even once ejected from the field.

Some of his records that have never been broken up to date include his 3,026 game appearances which is the record appearance for one player in a single club. He also holds the highest number of home runs that have been made in one day by a player when he made five home runs in one day in may 2nd 1954. This is when they were playing against the New York giants setting the bar high for other players who came after him.

At retirement, Stan Musial, led or shared 17 Major League Records.  He led or shared 29 National League Records.  He had 9 All Star Game records.  He would have told you his greatest record was being a father.  He spent his entire career with one team, the St. Louis Cardinals, which is unusual in today’s game.  Stan the Man was very well known for his harmonica playing in the club house. 

Both as a player and also when he was retired Stan Musial received very many awards and recognition in his lifetime. The first big award he received was the most valuable player award in the national league which he won in 1943, 1946 and 1948. He then went on to bag the sporting news award for the major league player of the year. The player of the decade award by sporting news also went to him in the 1950's but this was just half of it. He bagged two major awards in 1957 when he won the sportsman of the year and the Lou Gehrig Memorial award. The latter award is given to players who best show Gehrig's character in them. in 1961 and 1962 he was awarded the best player of the last 15 year awards and the comeback player of the year award respectively.

After he retired, he was still honored for his great accomplishments he had made throughout his 22 year career. President Lyndon B Johnson named him the chairman of the council on physical fitness in 1964. He was also honored with a bronze statue of Stan the man which was unveiled outside the Busch stadium in 1968.

The Statue Outside Busch Stadium

Stan was elected overwhelmingly with a 93.2 percent post to the national baseball hall of fame in 1969 which was his first year he was eligible for the recognition. The latest and final
Plaque of The Great Man
recognition he ever received when he was alive was the presidential Medal of Freedom for the achievements he made in his lifetime. This is the highest civilian honor in the United States and was given to him in 2011 by President Barack Obama.

His death in January 2013 triggered different reactions not just from the well renowned players in baseball but also his fans from around the world. Albert Pujols who is one of the greatest baseball players at the time came out to say how close he was with Stan 'thank god I knew him' and that his death was very sad. The New York Times also referred to him as a star that stood out by not standing out. There are many other elements to mention in this article but this is just a highlight of vital facts in this regard.


The only card I have of Stan the Man


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