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When I was a fetus my grandfather used to put headphones on my mom's belly so I could hear Jack Buck call a Cardinal game. I am pretty sure if you cut me I bleed Cardinal red.

I bet most people won't understand. That it was so important for my grandfather to introduce me to the Cardinals. Stan Musials funeral was just televised live on TV if you live in St. Louis. Cardinal Nation is a reality.

Musial won three MVP awards, led the league in hitting seven times, and won three World Series titles. He was selected as an All-Star in 20 consecutive seasons. He is "The Man."

He had a career batting average of 331. Not one year. His life. Ponder that for a few.

My four favorite stories about Stan.

One, he got his nickname "The Man" from New Yorkers. The Brooklyn Dodgers. He hit every baseball in a series either out of the park or against the wall. Somebody in the crowd in NYC said "here comes that man." It was printed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch the next day ..... and I guess that is now a nickname starts.

Second, he grew up poor. He jokes that at a time he'd take the top of a bottle cap, shape it like a baseball and play with it.

Third, the Cardinals were one of the last teams to integrate. When they did he told all the "white" players to deal with it.

Finally in his last game he was hurt. He could hardly swing a bat. He went to the plate four times. Four hits. Only swung the bat four times.

Go to YouTube. Read/listen to all there is. Best thing is he seems to be a great guy. Hard to find, and I have not, anybody that will say an ill will about the man.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He Is Not From Here (9+ / 0-)

    but he stayed here after this playing days. Again, you can't find anybody that has any ill will against the guy. He is known as about the nicest person you will ever met.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:17:27 PM PST

  •  I was a born and bred Cardinal fan in the days of (10+ / 0-)

    Harry Carey as well as Jack Buck.  When I was a tyke, Dad and I would go to games at the old Sportsmans Park in north St. Louis.  I loved those days.  In the mid-sixties I relocated to Houston but kept my Cardinal devotion going for a number of years but ultimately gave in to following the Astros.  Now that I'm back in Missouri, I'll be following the Cards again although I still have absolutely no grip on the roster.  

    ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

    by pittie70 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:28:12 PM PST

    •  When I was 15. (10+ / 0-)
      When I was a tyke, Dad and I would go to games at the old Sportsmans Park in north St. Louis.
      For three years, I had worked weekends and Summers at a large pet boarding and grooming facility in West St. Louis County. There were over 100 kennels and runs for dogs, dozens of cat habitats and a four table grooming facility that that seemed always full and buzy. The owners were renowned as among the finest Cocker Spaniel breeders and showed dogs at all the top shows, including the Westminster Kennel Club, every year. They were also Cardinal season ticket holders.

      In the Summer of 1964, the wealthy dowager of an old line St. Louis candy company brought her pampered buff cocker in for a bath and trim. Actually, she had a matching set of them. What we didn't know was that she had left her other dog out in the car when she brought in the 1st.

      I was the kid who, when the distraught old lady told us what had happened, ran out to her car, extracted the hyerthermic and unconscious pet, and ran him to the bathing tub where I revived the in a cool water bath.  That got me one of the boss's tickets to Game 2 of the 1964 World Series against the Yankees at Sportsman's Park. Also, from then on, until I left for college, I got a case of candy every Christmas.

      Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:53:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  too bad...they won in '64, Stan retired in '63 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pittie70, Cali Scribe

        Would have loved to have seen him in the World Series.

      •  What a great story. I was working in Clayton at (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar, Cali Scribe

        the time of the '64 series and our GM sent a half dozen of us to his wonderful old house to watch the game.  Food and drink.  Wonderful day!  At that time I had a red LeMans convertible and if I didn't have a date I liked to drive around (a then pretty spare) St. Charles county with the top down and a Cardinal game blasting.  Loved, loved it.  I only went to one game at the then new Busch stadium on the night before I left for Houston (August 1966).  Now that one is gone too.  Frankly, I much preferred Sportsmans Park.

        ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

        by pittie70 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:30:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sportsman's park (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pittie70, Cali Scribe

          had a lot of pillars. I'm not quite sure what the excuse was for replacing the round Busch with the new one, though.

          Michael Weissman UID 197542

          by docmidwest on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:39:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have no idea what the new one looks like but I (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftOfYou, Cali Scribe

            hope I can get to a game sometime this summer.  My sister and BIL make it into St. Louis for a game a couple of times a year, so maybe I can tag along.  We are in Columbia, about 125 miles west of StL, so going to a game is never a spur of the moment thing.

            ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

            by pittie70 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:53:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The New Park is Wonderful. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pittie70, Cali Scribe

              In 2007, I drove down from Chicago to attend the funeral of my only 1st cousin on my mother's side of the family in Washington, MO. I drove directly from the funeral to the new ballpark where, still dressed in a black suit, I attended a game against the Astros.  That was the first time, but I have enjoyed games there once or twice a season since. A game at Busch Stadium is not to be missed.  

              Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

              by LeftOfYou on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:29:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I hope I get the chance. The various family (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cali Scribe

                members who go to the games drive from Columbia, park, and take light rail to the ball park.  Heck, I'd go just to get to ride the train!  Re the Astros.  I became a supporter (not a real Cardinal-like fan) in the early 1980s.  I loved the Astrodome: it was a wonderful place for football and baseball, easy to get around in (unlike the Super Dome, which is a whole other story), comfortable.  It is such a shame that it has been totally abandoned and deteriorated beyond repair.  I understand they will soon tear it down.

                ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

                by pittie70 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:09:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  It is a great stadium, but (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cali Scribe

                it cost a lot of taxpayer dollars, and the older one was already pretty nice.

                Michael Weissman UID 197542

                by docmidwest on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:33:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Lifetime Democrat, too (11+ / 0-)

    Ask any black player of the era -- Mays, Aaron, Gibson...Stan did more to accept them, and to make them feel at ease, than almost anyone.

    Stan's daughter said that sometimes, they would have to wait a full hour at places so that Stan could make sure and sign an autograph for everyone that wanted one.

    In the minor leagues, Stan was a pitcher, but took a fall and destroyed his pitching shoulder.  A coach, Dickie Kerr, actually took Stan, his wife, and young child into their home while Stan tried to make the adjustment to the outfield.  Many years later, Stan repaid his kindness by buying Kerr a house.

    If Stan was eating dinner somewhere, and found out it was someone in the restaurant's birthday, especially a kid, he would go over to the table and play "Happy Birthday" for them on his harmonica.

    He was that kind of guy - many say he was easily the most approachable superstar in ANY sport in American history.  Oh, all this, and easily a top-10 player, all-time, in the history of the game.

    If you ever think that all athletes are spoiled, selfish, uncaring jerks, and always have been, do some reading about Stan.  Simply put, he was as good as it gets.

  •  1968 (5+ / 0-)

    Was the first world series I watched. I was heartbroken when the Cardinals lost. Mickey Lolich pitched three complete games in the series. That would never happen now.

  •  Bob Gibson (7+ / 0-)

    also pitched three complete games in the series.

  •  Class, personified!!! As good as it gets. (6+ / 0-)

    Never got the national recognition that Ted Williams got, bu t was as good or better than Ted in many ways.

    Smewhat of an unusual batting stance---worked for him though.

    Crouched down a lot..


    Got him 3600+ hits...

  •  Pete Rose came closest to matching Stan's (5+ / 0-)

    hitting style.  Surpassed his record.  Was he a better person?  No.  Does he belong in Cooperstown?  Resoundingly, yes.

    A guy like Stan Musial comes along rarely.  22 years...his entire career...with one team.  Who does that anymore, in any sport?  Pujols could have.  But he didn't.

    Today, the world is not enough.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:15:52 PM PST

  •  I saw him play (6+ / 0-)

    when I lived in St. Louis right out of college, 1954-56. I lived only 4 blocks from old Busch Stadium.  When the lights went on at night I could hardly stay away.  All I needed was 75 cents to sit in the bleachers.  I loved the way Stan wiggled his butt as he got ready to get another hit.

  •  one of my favorite stories, maybe even true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, pittie70, Cali Scribe

    you never know with these, but here's what I've read...

    Stan was asked "why are you always smiling?" and he said "if you had a lifetime average of .331 you'd be smiling too"

  •  There's only one "Stan the Man" (0+ / 0-)

    and that is Stan motherfucking LEE. He contributed a lot more to the world than playing a game for a living. He created a pantheon of legendary characters that have inspired countless millions and revived a moribund genre and made it not only relevant but into a powerhouse that is still gaining momentum today. Without Stan, superheroes might have become a quaint historical curiosity instead of the cultural juggernaut they are.

    If you've ever watched a superhero movie, or been inspired by comics or cartoons about them as a child, or participated in the fandom, you've been a guest in the house that Stan Lee built.

    "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

    by DarthMeow504 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:29:41 PM PST

    •  I love Stan Lee, too, but you're wrong... (0+ / 0-)

      ..and there's no need to tear down one Stan to praise another.

      First of all, comics and pro sports are both forms of entertainment. Both bring enjoyment to a lot of people, but it's silly to say that someone who excels in comics somehow makes a greater contribution to society than someone who excels in sports, or vice-versa. For every comic fan who's been inspired by a superhero, you can find a sports fan who's gotten similar inspiration from an athlete. The reverse is equally true. And to keep things in perspective here, while both Stans have entertained and perhaps inspired millions of fans, neither one has cured cancer, ended hunger, or brought about world peace.

      Second, Musial had the nickname "The Man" long before Stan Lee became well-known. Lee acknowledged that last week while paying tribute to Musial on Twitter.

      Lastly, while Stan Lee deserves credit for coming up with a different take on super-powered comic book heroes, he did not invent the concept of superheroes, nor did he create all those Marvel characters by himself.  (And some, most notably Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch, were created entirely by others.)

      Lee is a clever and charming fellow, a fine storyteller, and a terrific salesman, but without the work of co-creators such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, the Marvel characters would not be the ones we know today.  Again, this is something that Lee himself has acknowledged, and it's reflected legally in the credits for all the various Marvel movies, comics & other properties.

      •  Well if Mr Lee is cool with it (0+ / 0-)

        ...then I am as well.

        However, I will argue to my dying breath that a creative person, a storyteller who contributes to the common mythos of society, is vastly more important than an athlete especially one in a team sport.

        And it's not because I'm not a baseball fan, though admittedly I'm not. As a New Orleans native, I bleed black and gold and love my Saints but I have no illusions that any player is special simply for what they do on the field. Yes, they have a talent and they entertain people with that talent, but they don't create anything. The world is no different for them having been in it. You can erase any player or group of players from history and little would truly change. One name would be swapped for another, maybe some sports records numbers would be changed, but beyond that these men are interchangeable from a broader perspective. Honestly, I think we idolize athletes too much in our society, and that includes my favorites as well as yours.

        A creator like Stan Lee, however, has personally contributed something to our society that will last many years after he is no longer with us. Stories, characters, myths and legends are the lifeblood of a culture. Art is life. The direct contribution to so many dreams is beyond the ability to underestimate.

        And I believe you do underestimate Mr Lee's contribution. He worked with artists who contributed visual design work, but the common element in all those creations is Lee himself. He's a modest man who doesn't prefer to brag or fail to credit the talent of the artists he's worked with, but he is clearly the creative mind that brought these characters to life. The Marvel Universe wouldn't exist without him, period.

        And without Marvel, superheroes are almost certain to have died out. They failed more than once, you know. Between the Golden and Silver Ages, superheroes vanished from comic shelves. That is well known in fandom circles, of course, but what you might not know is that DC failed again prior to the acquisition by Warner Brothers, and actually approached Marvel to license their characters to Marvel! The mind boggles at the missed opportunity to combine those two epic universes, but there's little doubt that DC would have gone out of business without Marvel keeping the industry afloat. Marvel sales kept the comic shops in business, expanded the fandom, and basically created the entire market of over-12 comic book superhero readers.

        We all owe Stan Lee a debt that can never be repaid.

        "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

        by DarthMeow504 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 03:08:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I saw him hit one (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, pittie70, Cali Scribe

    over the close-in high screen in right in the old Sportsman's park.  We were sitting on the first base side. Way back in the day. He set a whole tone for the team, especially as it integrated.

    I happened to be in StL the day he died, at a high-school friend's wedding. We talked about what it was like growing up in a town where baseball was the religion, our religion. One of the guys said "Could have been worse. Could have been a town where religion was the religion."

    Michael Weissman UID 197542

    by docmidwest on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:34:39 PM PST

  •  In the 50s-60s, part of the joy of listening to a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phil S 33, Cali Scribe

    Cardinals game was the play-by-play with Carey and Joe Garagiola (sic).  Funny, full of good stories.  One night they had a guest in the booth -- Chuck Connors (The Rifleman, for you young'ns) a former minor league player.  It's been about 50 years since that broadcast but I still remember how much laughter it caused -- even if they were more than a little lax about the actual play by play.  

    ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

    by pittie70 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:41:24 PM PST

  •  Stan Musial was a class act (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pittie70, Cali Scribe, exterris

    Played hard, played fair, a decent man in the clubhouse, and a good man off the field.

    Why the blazes can't we have more of those?

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:12:49 PM PST

  •  Glad to See A Tribute Here. Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Squid, pittie70, Cali Scribe

    He was before my time as a player (he was my grandpa's favorite player as a kid), but Stan the Man is almost universally beloved. I also believe he was an Obama supporter and donor.

    Starting with the bolded "Stan Musial" is my favorite Stan the Man stories and one of my favorite baseball stories period regarding a blown call and Stan's reaction to it. In addition to showing Stan as the gentleman he was so well known as, it's a wonderful example of dealing with bad luck caused by human error with dignity and class.

    So goodbye to an incredible ball player, a hero to many, and by all accounts and most importantly, a real gentleman and decent man.

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