In this June, 1949 photo, St. Louis Cardinals player Stan Musial kissed his wife, Lillian, at the ballpark in St. Louis. The Cardinals said Lillian Musial died on Thursday, May 3, 2012. She was 91.
Editors Note: Occasionally The Boys Are Back blog will feature a special post not directly related to the Dallas Cowboys. Stan Musial was an unusual personality in the sports world. His passing marks an end to a truly remarkable era. Mr. Musial was a class act, on and off the field.
Courtesy: Mark Feeney | Boston Globe | January 19, 2013
Stan Musial, “Stan the Man,” who was the National League’s preeminent player in the decade after World War II and whose 22 seasons playing the outfield and first base for the St. Louis Cardinals earned him a place in baseball’s Hall of Fame, died at his home in Ladue, Mo., at the age of 92, according to the Cardinals.
“We have lost the most beloved member of the Cardinals family,” said William DeWitt Jr., chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals in a statement posted on the team’s website. “Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball.”
In a 1952 article, the legendary Hall of Fame outfielder Ty Cobb wrote, “No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today.”
For all that Mr. Musial may have approached perfection, he never had a mystique, the way his slightly older counterparts Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams did, or the somewhat younger Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Mr. Musial played far from the New York media spotlight. He had no hallowed statistic attached to his name, like DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak or Williams’ .406 batting average in 1941.
Mr. Musial, the sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said, “plays ball with a methodical gaiety and does not surrender to the moods which govern the other great ball players.” Among those alien moods was anxiety. An enthusiastic harmonica player, Mr. Musial performed the national anthem at opening day in St. Louis in 1994 with the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony’s pops concerts. Mr. Musial confided to him it was the first time he had ever felt “nervous on the field.”
The most distinctive thing about Mr. Musial was his batting stance, a coiled crouch once compared to “a man peeking around the corner.” What made Mr. Musial extraordinary was what he did, not who he was. There was nothing flamboyant or colorful about him, either on the field or off. It was no small irony that “Stan the Man” inspired one of the most memorable baseball nicknames of the 1970s when a teammate dubbed the notably eccentric relief pitcher Don Stanhouse “Stan the Man Unusual.”