Stan the Man – R.I.P.

I learned just now that Stan “the Man” Musial died, at the age of 92.

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.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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25 Responses to Stan the Man – R.I.P.

  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    One of the best men my home town ever produced. I still have on my mantel a signed baseball he tossed my way after I caddied for him back in high school. A real Man.

  2. Stu says:

    I stood next to Mr. Musial at the Hall of Fame when Yaz and Johnny Bench were inducted. That was quite a day.

    I will pray for his soul.

  3. Matt R says:

    In all his games, he was never ejected. I’m way too young to have seen him play, but even I feel an era has passed, considering that my friends, save a few baseball nuts, don’t know who he even is.
    Requiescant in pace, indeed.

  4. Wayward Lamb says:

    The Lord has called home a true gentleman. May Mr. Musial’s family find consolation and peace as they, and the rest of us, grieve his passing.

  5. Margaret says:

    How impressive! This kind of athlete, I wouldn’t mind the kids looking up to as a hero and role model.

  6. Charivari Rob says:

    Wow. 2 HoF members in two days (Earl Weaver passed away on Friday).

    Maybe I’ll dig out my copy of Boys of Summer tonight. I think there’s a couple of good passages in there about Musial – the grudging respect of the Brooklyn fans for his accomplishments.

    That was interesting about hitting one past Pete Rose in his last game. I had never heard that story before. It would have been a rare circumstance – so far as I know, Rose played much less shortstop than he did other positions.

  7. Facta Non Verba says:

    Before my time, but nevertheless, one of my favorites. A great man, both on and off the field.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    My great-uncle, who played on the St. Louis Browns, was the scout who discovered Musial and brought him to the majors. As a child, I kept a scrap-book of his career, including a signed photograph he sent me as a little fan. I have no idea where that scrap-book is .

    My family is a die-hard Cardinal family, one side being from St. Louis, plus the baseball connection. I have read 0ne biography, and my great-uncle is mentioned in it.

    God bless him. He was a gentleman and showed us how sport should be played…in respect for all on the field, off the field, and to the best of one’s natural ability.

    In these days of doping and rude behaviour, I honour Musial as “The Man”, an example for us all of the morality and skills which should inspire youth.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    PS I had a phenomenal baseball card collection and was the only kid in the neighbourhood to have both Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris cards in 1960. I gave the collection to my youngest brother a long time ago…I was a bit of a tom-boy and passed on the collection when I was getting my pink princess phone and being a real girl.

  10. Clinton R. says:

    What a great player and most importantly a devout and faithful Catholic. It is amazing to me Musial and Ken Griffey Jr. were both born in Donora, PA on November 21, 49 years apart. May God Bless the soul of Mr. Musial. +JMJ+

  11. Tominellay says:

    …went to my first big league game at the L.A. Coliseum in April, 1958, watched Stan the Man go 4 for 4…

  12. bookworm says:

    “2 HoF members in two days (Earl Weaver passed away on Friday).”

    They also both had connections to St. Louis, one of the greatest if not THE greatest baseball town on earth, because Weaver was born and raised there. RIP to both, and I hope Fr. Z is right about baseball in heaven…

    Finding out that Supertradmum’s great-uncle discovered Musial is the coolest discovery I’ve made on this blog since the day Fr. Z revealed that he had Tolkien’s last letter :-)

  13. cyrillist says:

    I hate to be “that guy,” Father, but it’s Carole, not Joni (“So Far Away”).

    That said, my respects to Stan, and God bless his soul.

  14. Eric says:

    As long as we’re doing “fact check”, Pete was playing FB that game.

  15. robtbrown says:

    I grew up listening to the Cards on KMOX –Musial, Schoendienst, Boyer, et al. With the broadcast team of Jack Buck, Harry Caray, and Joe Garagiola.

  16. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum, you are full of interesting trivia not to mention scholarly material too. ;-)

  17. David Zampino says:

    A great person; a great ballplayer. May he rest in peace.

    And I hope that Father Z. is right about baseball in heaven as well.

  18. Hughie says:

    “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.” This is simply not true.

    At the welcome ceremony in St Louis on January 26, 1999, His Holiness explained that he had “been in Mexico, to celebrate the conclusion of the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops” and that “that important Meeting was to prepare the Church to enter the new Millennium {on January 1, 2001 NOT 2000} and to encourage a new sense of solidarity among the peoples of the continent”. He went on to explain that he was “happy to be able to bring this message to Mid-America, on the banks of the Mississippi, in this historic city of St. Louis, the Gateway to the West.”

    His reason for choosing to stop off in St Louis was then easily explained. And it had nothing to do with Stan “the Man” Musial. His Holiness said: “I am particularly happy to greet the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with its rich spiritual heritage and its dynamic traditions of service to those in need. I wish to say a special word of appreciation to Archbishop Justin Rigali, who has been close to me since I became Pope twenty years ago.”

    Cardinal Rigali had been appointed caposezione of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State in 1970 (February 11) and accompanied Pope John Paul II in his meetings with English-speaking dignitaries and on on his visits to English-speaking countries and it was his appreciation of, and personal friendship with, Justin Rigali (who he appointed Archbishop of St Louis on January 25, 1994) which precipitated John Paul II’s visit to St Louis, no matter how pleasant the other explanation might be.

  19. gracie says:

    Hughie,

    ” . . . it was his appreciation of, and personal friendship with, Justin Rigali . . . which precipitated John Paul II’s visit to St. Louis . . .”

    Really? That’s very interesting. If you don’t mind my asking, though, how do you know that this friendship – and not the suggestion by Stan Musial – was the deciding factor in Pope John Paul II visiting St. Louis?

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  21. JonPatrick says:

    Charivari Rob, re the Dodgers I think it was Dodger pitcher Preacher Roe who when asked how does one get Musial out, said you throw 4 balls wide of the plate then try to pick him off first. They truly respected his ability at the plate.

  22. Simon_GNR says:

    Good to see a picture of a batter not wearing a protective helmet – players are such wimps these days! It’s even worse in my favourite game, cricket, in which it has now become the norm for batsmen to wear helmets with visors all the time, even against slow bowling, and wearing helmets is compulsory for batsmen in under-18’s cricket. BTW, the most famous Catholic cricketer I can think of was Bill O’Reilly, an Australian international player in the 1930’s.

  23. robtbrown says:

    gracie says:

    Really? That’s very interesting. If you don’t mind my asking, though, how do you know that this friendship – and not the suggestion by Stan Musial – was the deciding factor in Pope John Paul II visiting St. Louis?

    I heard many times that Abp Rigali was the reason for the visit.

  24. acricketchirps says:

    Eric: As long as we’re doing “fact check”, Pete was playing FB that game.

    Nonsense! Pete Rose never PLAYED FootBall.

    Seriously, I’m no baseball expert and I need someone to explain to me how you get on the All Star Team 24 times in 22 seasons. [There were a few years in the 50’s when there were more than one All Star Game.]

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