So long, Stan

I knew this day would come, especially with his failing health…but it doesn’t hurt any less…

Stanley Frank Musial, born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21, 1920…spent 22 years with the St. Louis Cardinals as an outfielder and first baseman…24 All-Star selections…3630 hits…475 home runs…a .331 lifetime batting average…

Clearly, he was one of the greatest ballplayers to ever play the game. But he transcended that…

If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in St. Louis, you have learned about Stan Musial. You revere him…you have met friends outside Busch Stadium by the Musial statue…you have seen the crowd go apeshit on Opening Day at Busch Stadium as he is announced…you’ve seen him break out his harmonica for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”…

I had the honor of meeting him as a kid…he was an owner of Red Bird Lanes, a bowling alley in South City where I bowled in a league. I got a trophy for Most Improved Bowler during our league one year…he presented me the trophy and I got to shake his hand. I think I have his autograph somewhere among my belongings…

Stan Musial was larger than life, yet more human than most folks. Cardinal Nation will be in mourning for some time…Opening Day is almost here, and Busch Stadium will simply not feel right for a bit. But the Cardinal greats in Baseball Heaven will be watching over Baseball Heaven…and the Cardinals will delight the masses for another year…

So long, Stan…you truly were “The Man.”

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