THE MAN

File:Stan Musial 1957.pnggrowin’ up a Cards fanin the mid 60s
i just missed his playing days
and now his days are done altogther 

listenin to Harry Caray call their games on the radio
i would hear the occasional reference to Stan Musial
but my young & fantastical mind was way more bent on the speed of Lou Brock
and the sheer power and audacity of Bob Gibson

as i grew older i also grew to understand the value of Stan the Man
as my mind and fandom expanded
i learned and understood more of his wonder
22 seasons played
hit for the cycle
3 MVP awards
7 batting titles
4th all time in hits
3rd in doubles
2nd in total bases
these are all numbers that speak of consistency
of presence
and of commitment

my favorite story of the Man
is of him pacing the clubhouse  prior to a doubleheader
in his underwear
a bat in his hand
saying
“10 hits for Stanley today
Stanley can get 10″
he unabashedly laid himself bare
without a care
except for that which he could control
his own conviction

of all his many achievements
i think the one i find most impressive
is that in his one year as General Manger for the Cards in 1967
he started a babysitting service at Busch Stadium so that the player’s wives could watch the games
he was a family man
a community man
a man for people
he once told a reporter that that the only thing that made him happier than hitting
was making people smile
i smile
using my fantastical childhood imagination
listening to Stan the Man play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on his harmonica 

i raise a glass to #6
in gratitude for his many years of the cultivation of our species

5 Responses

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  • rkevinbartlett says:

    there’s no deleting in baseball. once the red-stitched orb leaves your hand the deal is done. that’s why God invented sport…to appease our sense of finality.

  • rkevinbartlett says:

    holy crap! me too. if only for the oddity of learning to hit the ball via audio only. i’m sure Stan the Man pulls it off tho. i’ll keep my eye out at the antique stores

  • Karen and Dave says:

    Please delete the word “common” from my first sentence. It should never be used with the word “cliche”. Talk about redundancy – proof I need an editor!

  • jrbartlettjr says:

    when Kevin was a baby, we had in the house a 78 rpm record titled something like: Stan the Man Teaches You How To Bat Like A Pro. boy I wish we still had that record.

  • Karen and Dave says:

    I hate to use the common cliche, but it fits. When the powers-that-be made Stan the Man they broke the mold. Like you, his big league time was over by the time I became a fan of MLB. But as a student of the game, this dude knows how marvelous a player Mr. Musial was, and an even better person.

    Today’s big leaguers would be served well to study and learn more about those that went before them, particularly Stan Musial, and perhaps they would benefit from a bit of humility as much as they do from the almighty dollar.