Happy Birthday to Stan "The Man" Musial

Happy Birthday to Stan

Credit: UPI

Lillian Musial, wife of National Baseball Hall of Fame member Stan Musial, shown in this October 1, 2006 file photo, has passed away at the age of 91 in St. Louis on May 3, 2012. Stan and Lillian were married in May 1940. UPI/Bill Greenblatt


by Doug Vaughn / BaseballStL


Posted on November 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 3:38 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Happy 92nd birthday to Stan Musial. The greatest Cardinal of them all and a true civic treasure. There's not much you can write about Stan the Man that hasn't been written about a hundred times before. It is interesting though to go back and look at some of his numbers, if nothing else but to remind yourself what a fantastic talent he was.

Twenty-four All Star Game appearances. Seven time batting champ. Three time Most Valuable Player. Led the Cardinals to three World Series Championships. Named to Major League Baseball's All-Century team. A career and a lifetime without even the tiniest hint of scandal.

Take our Stan Musial trivia quiz

I had the chance to meet and talk to Stan a few times and it was like talking to somebody you'd known for years. He remained totally unaffected by his superstar status. I was at Kirkwood Park about 20 years ago and watching a small band play at the amphitheatre. Stan was in the crowd and decided he would join the band and play his harmonica. I don't think anybody knew it was coming. He asked if he could join them, and then stepped onto the stage and started playing. He was smiling ear and ear and having the time of his life. When he was finished, he made his way to his car and was followed by a couple dozen fans. He opened his car trunk, pulled out a box of promotional pictures he carried with him, and signed one for everybody there. I think he liked doing that kind of thing almost as much as his fans loved being close to him.

One of my favorite baseball memories of Musial came after he had been long retired. I was at a Cardinals game in the mid 70's, during an era when the Cardinals didn't have much power. The Busch Stadium dimensions were huge, the outfield walls were 10 feet high, and the Cardinals were facing criticism for having a team full of hitters who couldn't reach the fences. They put on an all timers game that day and Musial was part of it. He would have been in his mid 50's at that point. I remember him stepping up to the plate and hammering a pitch well up into the seats in right field. He just destroyed the pitch. It had to have traveled 420 feet. It was a no doubter. The crowd went crazy and as Musial trotted around the bases he was waving his hat, celebrating like an 8 year old who had just hit his first little league homerun. It was a moment I'll never forget. He didn't forget it either. I asked him about it several years ago, and his eyes lit up and he re-told me the story that I already knew.

What a life he's lived! Happy birthday to Stan the Man. Here's hoping for many more to come.