I want to thank my writing partner Martin for his dispatch from Finland. I was wondering if he’d give us a Wilsonian allusion: Edmund that is. And he did! . . . Although Martin is The Man, I want to talk briefly about Stan the Man Musial. I think somewhat lost amid his more flamboyant contemporaries Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle in the American League, and the one and only Willie Mays not to mention Hammerin’ Hank Aaron in the Senior Circuit, Musial (1941-63) is somewhat of a lesser-appreciated great. This is unfortunate, and Great is the only word that fits.
There is no doubt Musial needs no ticket to Cooperstown, where he was enshrined in 1969. (Officially celebrated as baseball’s centennial, in which DiMaggio was voted “Greatest Living Player,” cutting into Musial’s spotlight, again) But check out the following. Musial played for one team, the Saint Louis Cardinals, for 22 seasons. He batted a startling .331 over 3,000-plus games. He struck out only 696 times while collecting 475 home runs. His 1948 slugging percentage was a staggering .702. (When Mantle won the Triple Crown in all of baseball in 1956, his .705 slugging percentage was touted as mythical.) By the way, Musial had 3,630 hits, a total we may not see eclipsed in our fandom lifetimes.
Let’s “Stan” and cheer the greatest Cardinal of them all: Stan Musial!