I was just going to let today pass by without a comment regarding Stan Musial’s receiving of the President Medal of Freedom. Why? Because at 25 years old, I’ve never seen Musial play baseball. Even my father was not much older than a toddler when Stan wrapped up his playing days. So I don’t have any first hand knowledge of the St. Louis legend known as “Stan the Man.”
But I do know statistics, and I do know history.
I know that Musial has a career batting average of .331. I know that he hit 475 HR in his career to go along with 1,951 RBIs. I know that he is a 5-time MVP and 20-time All Star.
I know that in 1945, despite having 3 full seasons under his belt as a major league baseball player, he gave up his profession and joined the United States Navy in January 1945. After the war, he was discharged in March of 1946 and returned to professional baseball without skipping a beat. In 1946, he won the league MVP, leading the league in at bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, batting average, and slugging percentage.
It was that 1946 season that earned him his nickname “the Man,’ as the story goes anyway.
He was a part of the 1942, 1944, and 1946 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals as a player. He was a Vice President of the Cardinals as the team won the 1964 World Series. He was the Cardinals’ General Manager for just a single season, 1967 when the Cardinals won their 8th World Series as a franchise, and Musial’s fifth while he was involved with the team.
In 1968, a statue of Stan was erected outside of Busch Stadium. It was moved for proper placement after the building of the new Busch Stadium in 2006.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1969. In 1998 he was listed 10th on the Sporting News’ list of the Top 100 Baseball players.
Though it didn’t exist when he played, sabermetrics reward him for his play as well. He is tied for 11th in Wins Above Replacement with another famous Cardinal, Rogers Hornsby.
Definitely a fitting player to be considered a legend by Cardinals fans. Congratulations on your commendation today, Mr. Musial.