Stan Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals star with the corkscrew stance and too many batting records to fit on his hall of fame plaque, died Saturday. He was 92.
Stan the Man was so revered in St. Louis that he has two statues outside Busch Stadium — one just wouldn’t do him justice. He was one of baseball’s greatest hitters, shining in the mold of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio even without the bright lights of the big city.
Musial won seven National League batting titles, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s.
The Cardinals announced Musial’s death in a news release. They said he died Saturday evening at his home in Ladue surrounded by family. The team said Musial’s son-in-law, Dave Edmonds, informed the club of Musial’s death.
“We have lost the most beloved member of the Cardinals family,” team chairman William DeWitt Jr. said. “Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball.”
Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times — baseball held two All-Star games each summer for a few seasons.
A pitcher in the low minors until he injured his arm, Musial turned to playing the outfield and first base. It was a stroke of luck for him, as he went on to hit .331 with 475 home runs before retiring in 1963.
Widely considered the greatest Cardinals player ever, the outfielder and first baseman was the first person in team history to have his number retired. Ol’ 6 probably was the most popular, too, especially after Albert Pujols skipped town.
At the suggestion of a pal, actor John Wayne, he carried around autographed cards of himself to give away. He enjoyed doing magic tricks for kids and was fond of pulling out a harmonica to entertain crowds with a favorite, The Wabash Cannonball.
Humble, scandal-free, and eager to play every day, Musial struck a chord with fans throughout the Midwest and beyond. Musial’s public appearances dwindled in recent years. He was at the White House in February 2011 when President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor for contributions to society.
Earl Weaver dies at 82
Earl Weaver, the hall of fame manager who brought pugnacity and pragmatism to the Baltimore Orioles dugout, leading the team to five 100-win seasons, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series championship, and tormenting a generation of umpires along the way, died early Saturday, apparently of a heart attack, while on an Orioles fantasy cruise, according to the team’s website. He was 82.
A bantam in both stature — he was 5 feet 7 inches, maybe — and temperament, Weaver was among the most influential managers in modern baseball history. Weaver knew that depth helped win pennants, he was a shrewd roster builder. Weaver chose players to fill in the gaps around his stars, not necessarily for their overall ability or athleticism but for their isolated skills and then deployed them in situations where they were most likely to succeed.
Weaver managed the Orioles from 1968 through 1982, then came out of retirement in mid-1985 and managed the team through the end of 1986. His overall record was 1,480 victories and 1,060 losses, a .583 winning percentage, ninth in major-league history.