Stan the Man’s mementos on the auction block

He’s considered the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of them all, and
fans of Stan ”The Man” Musial have a chance to own a piece of his
personal collection, ranging from game-worn jerseys to championship
rings – even his legendary harmonicas.

An online auction of 400 lots of Musial memorabilia began
Thursday through Heritage Auctions of Dallas. Bidding ends Nov. 7
through Nov. 9, depending on the lot.

Musial died in January at age 92, a year after his wife,
Lillian, died. The family kept numerous mementos from his life and
career and gave away many others to the Cardinals organization,
friends and others.

But Musial’s modest four-bedroom red-brick home in Ladue, Mo.,
was simply stuffed with things he collected over the years – items
from his playing days, gifts from fellow players, even letters and
cards from fans, said Musial’s grandson, Brian Musial Schwarze.

”Most of this stuff the family didn’t even know was there,”
Schwarze said. ”He just never made a big show of anything.”

On the inexpensive side, bidding starts at $1 for things such as
autographed photos, Musial’s lighters and neckties and a collection
of Christmas cards sent to Musial.

At the other end of the scale, bidding starts at $10,000 for
four items: A game-worn jersey from 1948, one of three seasons
Musial won the National League MVP; championship rings from the
2006 and 2011 seasons; and an autographed baseball from Babe Ruth,
given to Musial when he was in the minor leagues in 1941.

Among Schwarze’s favorites is a letter from another baseball
legend, Ty Cobb. Written in 1952, Cobb’s letter discusses
everything from how to break out of a slump to his disdain for
sportswriters. He wrote: ”Seriously now, I know well that you
averaged in 6 of your last 7 years .355. Does that give you a right
to be so darn modest?

”So go out there now and lead the league again and if you don’t
lead both Major Leagues this year, you should be shot in the behind
with mustard seed,” he wrote.

Musial was a seven-time batting champion who spent his entire
22-year career with the Cardinals. He played on three championship
teams, all in the 1940s, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in
1969. Musial also served in the Navy in World War II and was a 2011
recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions,
said the auction should draw well, given how much Musial is beloved
by Cardinals fans.

”He was such a good guy and a good ambassador for the game,”
Ivy said. ”The response we’ve gotten in terms of fan interest has
been very high.”

St. Louis has mourned Musial’s passing in a number of ways.
Thousands turned out for his funeral procession and public
visitation in January. This season, the team’s jerseys had No. 6 on
the sleeve, and an image of Musial adorned the outfield wall. In
July, a new Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis was named in his
honor.

Bidding began on the same day the Cardinals were to open the
postseason. Musial was a fixture in the postseason, drawing
thunderous ovations at pre-game ceremonies as he recreated his
hunched-over batting stance. His final appearance at Busch Stadium
was last October at Game 4 of the NL championship series.

”Everywhere I go I run into people who have stories about
him,” Schwarze said. ”I have yet to come across a bad story about
Stan.”

Online:

Heritage Auctions: www.HA.com