(Baseball StL) -- Stan Musial might be known best around the country for what he did for the Cardinals on the field, but in St.Louis, he is just as well known for the impact he had on people off it.
For one Granite City man, Stan left behind a memory that has lasted over 50 years.
“My father asked me what I wanted for my birthday,” said Bill Herbst. “I said I wanted to meet Stan Musial.”
Herbst was 11 at the time he mad the request, and hospitalized with polio.
“Later when he left the hospital he probably thought ‘how do I make this happen?’”
Parents can be miracle workers; and on October 23, 1950, a Musial miracle took place at St.Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis.
“It was hard to believe a man like that would take time to see somebody like me,” said Herbst.
But it wasn’t just any man, it was Stan the Man.
“It’s just a case of somebody you idolized from the time you can remember walking in and saying, ‘Hi, Bill,’” he said. “I was flabbergasted.”
Stan wasn’t done flabergasting, either. A year later, the Cardinals star sent Herbst an autographed photo on his 13th birthday.
“I was terribly impressed with that too,” he said. “That he remembered a year later.”
Over 50 years later, Herbst’s daughter Beth helped bring her father’s moment with Musial full circle. The photo of their original meeting all those years ago was still in Herbst’s home, and Beth decided to do something special.
“We heard the Stan Musial story mulitple times over the years and I just really wanted to get it signed for him,” she said.
When he saw the photo from so many years ago with a fresh Stan Musial signature, Beth said it was moving for the whole family.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” she said. “There really wasn’t.”
For Herbst it may be been only 20-30 minutes several decades ago, but his time with the Redbird legend has stayed with him his entire life.
“I think about it quite often in fact. As i’ve said before, outside of my family, it’s something i’ll cherish until they bury me.”
Cherishing Stan Musial the person as much as Stan Musial the player; the Caridnal patron saint, in a town known as Baseball heaven.