Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stan the Man Turns 90

... and Power Line remind us why we should remember him.
I was a Cardinal fan in a big way in my youth; part of it was that my father was, but another big part, and it is pretty amusing, was that KMOX could be heard clearly most nights on my little transistor radios. 1964 was certainly my favorite baseball season, especially as the Cardinals defeated the Yankees (who better!?) in the World Series.
What made Musial special? I like:
Jack Buck said this about Stan: "When you first hear about this guy, you say, 'it can't be true.' When you first meet him you say, 'It must be an act.' But as you watch him and watch him and see how he performs and how he comports himself you say, 'He's truly one of a kind.' There will never be another like him."
(In the same regard) Willie Mays has praised Musial through the years for extending his friendship to African American players during those tense days. Here's a story from Mays, who told it to Kansas City Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews: "All-Star Game, late Fifties. There were seven black players on the National League All-Stars. We were in the back of the clubhouse playing poker and none of the white guys had come back or said, 'Hi,' or 'How's it going?' or 'How you guys doing?' or 'Welcome to the All-Star Game.' Nothing. All of a sudden I look up and here comes Stan toward us. He grabs a chair, sits down and starts playing poker with us. And Stan didn't know how to play poker! But that was his way of welcoming us, of feeling a part of it, making us feel a part of it. I never forgot that. We never forgot that." (Emphasis added.)
and, remembering a great Red Smith column about Dickie Kerr, I was surprised to see this interesting fact:
The way The Man treated Dickie [sic] Kerr, an influential figure and great benefactor in Musial's life. Kerr was Musial's manager at Daytona Beach in 1940 and guided and supported the young prospect when Musial hurt the left shoulder and faced a career turning point. Kerr had encouraged Musial to become a full-time outfielder even before the injury and that gave Stan confidence. Moreover, Kerr and his wife had taken Stan and Lil into their home in 1940 as Lil was expecting their first child. In 1958, Musial bought Kerr a home as a measure of gratitude. [Kerr, by the way, was a clean member of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, and won both of his starts in the World Series that year)
Happy Birthday and thanks for the pleasure you gave me as a teenager!


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