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Johanna's View
by Johanna Wagner
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This post was written by Johanna Wagner on January 20, 2013
Posted Under: Johanna's View

Yesterday was a tough day for baseball fans, particularly those in Baltimore and St. Louis.  We learned of the passing of two baseball greats: Earl Weaver late Friday night, and Stan Musial yesterday.

Earl Weaver was 82, and one of the greatest managers in baseball history.  He helped the Orioles achieve a dynasty standing by helping already good players become great.  Interestingly, Weaver was signed to play for the Cardinals in 1948.  In 1957, he joined the Orioles organization as a player-manager for one of their minor league teams, and worked his way to manager of the big league club.  Weaver loved players who got on base, or hit for power and abhorred what we was considered ’small ball’ or giving away outs to move runners.  Little did he know how in vogue he would have been 20 years after his last retirement.  For a great Obit on Weaver, check out this Mike Klingaman and Peter Schmuck piece from the Baltimore Sun.

And then there is Stan, the Man, Musial.  Arguably the greatest baseball player ever, though, few have spent time making that argument as he was often overlooked for playing in the middle of the country and because he wasn’t flashy and didn’t draw too much attention to himself.  He still holds many Cardinal hitting records, despite the number of outstanding offensive players the team has had, perhaps owing to the length he wore the redbirds on his uniform as well as his all around hitting ability.  Musial signed with the Cardinals in 1938 for $65 a month as a pitcher.  After hurting his arm diving for a ball though, he was converted to an outfielder and climbed through the minors quickly.  Brooklyn’s Preacher Roe once said the best way to defend against Musial was to ‘throw him four wide ones and then pick him off first base.”   The Dodger fans are said to have given him his nickname too, because when ever he came to the plate they would just say ‘here comes that man again.’  A beat writer used that in his game story, and Stan the Man became an iconic nickname for the great Cardinal.  This Rick Hummel piece shares many more details about the great Cardinal.

Musial’s longtime roommate, Red Schoendienst, survives him as the oldest living Hall of Famer.

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Reader Comments

I have read and have copies of two of the peorivus Stan Musial biographies, and I like Bob Broeg’s the best. James Giglio wrote one in 2007 which was okay, but did have a few errors in it. The present one written by Donora, Pennsylvania, native Wayne Stewart, really doesn’t contain any new information other than what has happened in Stan’s life since the peorivus biography came out in 2007. That part of the book I found to be the most interesting part. The vast majority of the book recounts Stan’s life and career with a number of anecdotes that can readily be found in any number of baseball books. An example would be the players’ relationship with managers Eddie Stanky, Solly Hemus, and Johnny Keane can be book in several other books. If you have done peorivus reading on the game’s history you won’t find much new information here. As I said Stan and his wife’s issues with declining health are all that is new information. I find it disappointing that he and Joe Garagiola apparently do not intend to patch up their feud over the money matters in regard to their past partnership in the Redbird Lanes bowling alley venture. Garagiola attempted to reconcile, but Musial blew him off because Joe voiced remarks about Stan that Musial took issue with that were injurious to Stan’s reputation. That’s sad since both are godfathers to each other’s children and both are up in years and a reconciliation would be nice while both are still alive. Author Stewart, a Donora native like Musial, writes very favorably towards Musial throughout the book and the back of the inside dust jacket states that this is the ultimate biography of Stan the Man. I feel the only reason for it being the ultimate biography of Musial is because it includes his life since his last biography. However, as I peorivusly noted, there are a lot of anecdotes regarding both baseball and Musial that can be found in numerous other books. I found the book to be okay, but certainly nothing special.

#1 
Written By Ahmed on January 26th, 2013 @ 7:52 am

For many baseball fans, Stan Musial is a bit of a mtyesry; his career ended during the Kennedy administration, and began prior to this country’s involvement in World War II. Time has pushed the Musial legacy into the background; now, as Stan the Man approaches his 90th birthday, Wayne Stewart’s biography of one of the game’s greatest hitters is giving fans a fresher perspective of this man who was born to be a ballplayer; and what a player he was. As a life-long fan of the St Louis Cardinals, my earliest memories were of teams he performed on with such effortless skill and grace. Although he was already past his prime by the time I first started going to the games, in the late ’50s; he was still the leader of the team, and was revered by the vast majority of Redbird rooters, as well. The fact that I personally already know much of what Stewart has written about Musial doesn’t take away from its significance; I realize most readers won’t be as familiar with this great ballplayer, and his accomplishments on and off the field. This is a most worthy effort, and comes along at a time when the Musial legacy was perhaps fading from the forefront of baseball folklore. This is a refreshing perspective of a man who deserves the renewed attention Stan the Man Musial.

#2 
Written By Shuka on January 27th, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

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