As a die hard baseball fan I like to joke (and I am not joking) my grandfather put headphones on my mother's belly so I could listen to Jack Buck call a Cardinals game as a fetus. He is 93 years young today, but to become a Cubs fan just wasn't acceptable. Cardinals. Cardinals. Cardinals. Did I mention we're Cardinals fans?
Well close to impossible to be a Cards fan and not know this man called Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial. He got the Presidential Model of Freedom the other day, so lets talk about him for a few seconds.
Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania. He signed a professional contract from the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938. They laughed at that and told Musial he might try being an outfielder. He did that in 1941. Good choice in hindsight.
Oh he didn't also understand the racism that was the part of his sport at the time. But that is another story.
In his first full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series. The next year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award. He was also named an All-Star for the first time; he would be selected to every All-Star Game in every subsequent season he played. Musial won his second World Series ring in 1944, then missed the entire 1945-1946 season while serving with the United States Navy.
He wasn't a war hero, he just cleaned ships in Pearl Harbor, but lost two of his prime years. What could have been?
In 1946 Musial was back from military service and earned his second MVP award and third World Series ring. It was that year he got his nickname of "The Man" from Brooklyn Dodgers fans. Got his nickname from the folks that didn't like him so much.
Later that day over dinner, Broeg asked Cardinals traveling secretary Leo Ward if he had understood what the Dodger fans had been chanting. Ward said, "Every time Stan came up they chanted, 'Here comes the man!'" "'That man,' you mean", Broeg said. "No, the man", replied Ward. Broeg mentioned this story in his Post-Dispatch column, and Musial was thereafter known as Stan "The Man
His third MVP title came in 1948, when he finished one home run shy of winning baseball's Triple Crown.
He has a .331 lifetime batting average. 475 home runs. He is a stud. Oh Stan the Man.