The St. Louis Cardinals have been blessed by many talented players. However, there was no one quite as amazing as Stan “the Man” Musial.
St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial would have been ninety-six years old today. He was born on November 21st 1920 and died on January 19, 2013 surrounded by family and loved ones. Musial lives on though and is forever a part of St. Louis and the Cardinals. Even as recent as this past Saturday, Musial was honored via the annual Musial awards which celebrate the greatest moments of sportsmanship.
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Stan Musial was an amazing baseball player proven by his first-ballot Hall of Fame induction. However, the Musial awards are given to those who aren’t just amazing players, but those are amazing people like Stan was.
Many take for granted just how incredible Stan the Man was. He was a common part of St. Louis City and people would regularly see him out at local restaurants, charity dinners, on Channel 5 news, and at Busch Stadium playing the harmonica tune of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” He was “one of us” and was as much of a part of the St. Louis community is anyone else.
He is beloved by an entire city and all fans of baseball. But many Cardinals fans may not have really put into perspective the type of player that he was. The Hall of Famer played in 22 seasons as a St. Louis Cardinal totaling 3,630 hits which ranks fourth all-time. He also helped the Redbirds win three World Series Championships and was a 24 time All-Star.
Musial also won the National League MVP award three times and if that wasn’t impressive enough, he finished in the top-five of MVP voting eight times over a nine-season stretch (1943-1952). Musial also did so while not playing in the 1945 season. Instead, he was serving our country after he enlisted in the Navy.
Musial was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 on his first-ballot. He was then honored by being selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century team in 1999. Posthumously, Stan Musial was also inducted to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2014. The Cardinals also honored Musial in 2006 by unveiling a statue of him and his famous batting stance outside of Busch Stadium.
And two years before he died, Musial was given yet another award. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Stan Musial isn’t alone on this date, November 21st. Ken Griffey Jr. joins him and was born on November 21, 1969 which happens to be the year Musial was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, both Hall of Famers happen to be from the same home town: Donora, Pennsylvania. So maybe there is something in the water there that helps men be great athletes and great people.
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So happy birthday to the legend, Stan Musial. He helped make the game of baseball an incredible sport; he built the foundation for a historically successful Cardinals organization; and he made the city of St. Louis a better place. His presence, kindness, and overall personality were truly one of a kind and that is why everyone, everywhere is proud to call him, “the Man.”