I once read that Vin Scully said of Stan Musial, “How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away.”
As we are at the one-year anniversary of the passing of the greatest Cardinal of them all, much is being written about him. Simply, he was one of the greatest players that played during the Golden Age of the game. Not only was it a Golden Age of the game, but it was a Golden Age for America. Having come off World War II, America rose to be a super power. They were the good old days, not that I lived through them.
Flash forward fifty or sixty years to our day and time, our good old days with modern technology. I remember a year ago watching Stan’s funeral, not on TV, but live on the Internet. I wondered if Stan ever owned a computer, did he ever have a cell phone, did he listen to music from an iPod, even if it was one of his grandchildren’s? Don’t get me wrong, If Stan were in his prime today, I’m sure he would own top of the line products. I’m sure Stan owned the best transistor radio available at the time. Stan was about the same age as my grandfather, who in his own right, had a bit of money—he had been a cardiologists. Even with a big fancy house, my grandfather still had a telephone that went directly into the wall. It wasn’t connected to a jack, but the phone wire actually went into the wall. This was well into the 21st Century.
I digress…I remember last year sitting in my kitchen, getting choked up as I watched Stan’s funeral. I’m not going to weigh you down with tons of stats—we know he was great! We know he was the Donora Greyhound, we know the legend of how he was a minor a league pitcher who got injured and was put in the outfield. We know that he had over 3,000 hits, once held the National League record for most hits, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We also know that he loved his wife. We know all of this about Stan the Man.
If there was a Mt. Rushmore for Cardinals, Stan would be by himself. Don’t get me wrong. There are other greats—Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie, etc, etc, etc. But, Stan was Stan, the Humble Hero.
Again, it was a different era, but according to baseball-referense.com, Stan did not even make a million dollars in his career. Earlier this week, Clayton Kershaw signed a 7-year contract in which he will make, on average, over $30 million per year. He will make about the same amount of money every time he takes the mound as Stan did in his career. Again, I digress.
As we sit around on this cold, lazy weekend, let’s take advantage of our modern technology to relive the celebration of Stan’s life. Here are links to three videos: