Today it seems no one stays in one place anymore, as Joni might put it. That holds true for baseball players and pastors of parishes. But Musial spent his entire career of 22 years with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He was an amazingly consistent hitter, having exactly, imagine it over 22 years, the same number of hits on the road as at home, 1815! He had 1951 RBIs and 1949 runs. He never struck out more than 50 times in a season. He led the NL in at least one category each year. He made the All-Star team 24 times. When he retired he had 55 records.
On his final day, Musial hit one past shortstop Pete Rose, who 18 years later broke Musial’s own record of 3630 hits.
One could go on and on about Stan Musial, but above all he was know as a Catholic gentleman. I remember watching the TV coverage of John Paul’s visit to St. Louis in 1999 and seeing the great reverence Musial, also Polish, demonstrated when he met the Pope. As a matter of fact it is said that His Holiness had Musial and his wife Lil to supper with him when they visited Rome and Musial was instrumental in getting the Pope to come to St. Louis.
In his biography by Joseph Stanton, we read,
“Stan, by all accounts, adored his wife Lil and pointedly refused any and all offered opportunities to be disloyal to her. Many have noted his dedication to church attendance. He was (ed. is!) a Catholic who did not think it acceptable to miss Mass. One of Stan’s children reported to Giglio that among the few things their father could be stern about were instances when family members wanted to allow sleepiness to get in the way of getting up for church. Musial’s disciplined concentration was, no doubt, undergirded by his faith. Not overtly religious outside of church, Stan was, nonetheless, spiritually disciplined at the bat and in his life. Concentration was always key.
Stan was married to Lil for almost 72 years. She died at 91 in May 2012.
Consistency, concentration, Catholicism.
Requiescant in pace.