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.