I’m thinking it might help to take our minds off this brutal winter on the prairies, if we take a moment to remember one of the legendary Boys of Summer.
Stan Musial, the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of them all, died this month at the age of 92. Personal interest here, the Cardinals have been my favourite ballclub for more than 50 years. For 11 years they were the parent team of the old Winnipeg Goldeyes.
I never got to watch Stan the Man in action. He did stop in Winnipeg once, back in 1962, his second last year in a Cardinal uniform. He was already guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown. That beautiful August day he spent more than an hour signing everything that the local youngsters put in front of him.
Baseball lives for statistics, and the numbers compiled by Musial were truly amazing. In 22 seasons in the National League, he hit safely on 3,630 occasions. 475 of those balls went out of the park. The most amazing number of all comes when you divide those hits by two. Stan collected 1,815 hits at home in St. Louis, and the other 1,815 on the road. Talk about Mr. Consistency and dependability.
He seemed to get better with age. He led the National League in hitting seven times, the last time in 1957, when he was 37 years of age. His reward was entry into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and not one but two statues of himself outside the Cards home park.
After he retired in September 1963, Stan remained a vital part of the St. Louis organization for most of the rest of his life, including a stint as their general manager.
Have I succeeded in taking you from the depths of winter to a beautiful summer day on the diamond? Let’s play ball, and I don’t mean snowball.
I’m Roger Currie
You can listen to Roger Currie’s commentary by clicking on the link below: