St. Louis Cardinals: Being thankful for Stan Musial on Thanksgiving
With Musial’s birthday resting on the day before Thanksgiving, I would like to take a moment to reflect on why I am thankful for “The Man”, despite being a half a century too young to have lived through the glory days of his legendary St. Louis Cardinals career.
You can go into the accolades and the crazy statistics that Stan Musial put up in his career for longer than it takes to clean up from Thanksgiving dinner with your extended family. His almost absurd career average of .332 in 22 seasons (1941-1944 and 1946-1963), all for the St. Louis Cardinals, is only the tip of the gravy on the bowl of mashed potatoes that is Musial’s legacy.
He played in a remarkable 24 All-Star games (2 games were held from 1959-1962), won 3 World Series rings, 3 MVP’s, and still ranks among the best hitters ever in a variety of metrics. 4th in career hits, 13th in OPS, 30th in average, 8th in RBI’s, 13th in walks, 3rd in doubles, 7th in oWAR; the list goes on and on.
Despite all the glory, the statistics, and the accolades, what makes Stan Musial “The Man” for me are the stories of who he was as a person, and the way he treated both other people and the game of baseball with the utmost respect.
Contrary to some people who believe that Musial’s nature diminished his legacy, I think that Musial’s kind nature doesn’t harm his legacy in comparison to guys like Joe DiMaggio. It just makes it unique, and I am sure that St. Louis Cardinals fans appreciate that uniqueness.
While you see a rare story of a conflict Musial has had, they are completely muted by the countless recollections of Musial’s kindness. The one that best sums it up for me is from former St. Louis Cardinals manager and Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog, who recalled that Musial “was always great to [him] when [he] was a nobody.”
“He will always be Mr. Baseball. You can go around the world and you’ll never find a better human being than Stan Musial.” Herzog said.
The impact that Stan Musial had on the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball as a whole will be forever ingrained in their histories, not only because of the way he performed on the field, but also the way he treated people off of it. On a day that’s all about giving thanks, let us in Cardinal Nation be thankful for Stan Musial, who in every sense of the word was truly “The Man” for the St. Louis Cardinals.