Less than 24 hours after his passing, Stan The Man’s legacy is already the biggest discussion in Cardinal Nation. That should surprise no one.
But it should be more than just a uniform patch or a new image at the stadium. Those are fine ideas, but a person with the stature of Stan Musial—both on and off the field—deserves more. Maybe it’s impossible to come up with something truly big enough to represent what Stan The Man meant to the Cardinals, to St. Louis, to Baseball. I mean, he already has two statues erected in his honor, and one is only slightly less iconic to the city of St. Louis than the Gateway Arch. Yet somehow even all that doesn’t seem like enough, does it?
So here are two of the best ideas I’ve seen so far, with what I believe to be proper attribution…and by that I mean, where I first saw the idea:
–St. Louis media guy Larry Thornton tweeted: “On Jackie Robinson day everyone wears 42. On Opening Day every Cardinal should wear 6” Such a simple idea, yet so brilliant. Robinson’s impact on baseball and, really, the entire country is unparalleled and will never again be matched. The same could be said about Stan Musial and St. Louis/the Cardinals. Not that Musial was a civil rights pioneer fighting for equality and justice…that’s not where the comparison is. But just like Robinson to the whole of the game and the fabric of the country, Musial transcended what it meant to be a pro ballplayer. He was one of the greatest ever, and yet that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story.
–Fellow bloggers Chris Mallonee and Daniel Solzman each wrote posts suggesting a name alteration at the home of the St. Louis Cardinals. “Musial Field at Busch Stadium” (or some variation) has a pretty good ring to it. Naming the field after Musial would in no way impact the name Busch Stadium, yet it would give more permanence to Stan The Man’s impact as a player and a person on the organization and the community. One good spot for the name would be the backstop. Busch Stadium looks great there; wouldn’t Musial Field look even better?
I may add some ideas to the post, so look for updates. I’m sure the Cardinals are already on top of a number of tributes set for this season; these are just some suggestions with both class and precedence. Commemorative giveaways and video tributes are nice, too, but Stan’s passing is not just the death of an icon…it’s the death of THE icon. Feel free to leave more ideas and suggestions below.
Today was a tough day for St. Louis Cardinals fans, as Stan “The Man” Musial died at the age of 92.
What does Stan The Man mean to me?
Stan The Man is the Cardinals. He is St. Louis. He is Busch Stadium, he is Opening Day, he is the All Star Game, he is the World Series. He is MVP, Hall of Fame, and Medal of Freedom. He is the Birds on the Bat and the red blazer. He is a veteran. He is a record holder. He is comfortably in the Top 5 of the best players ever—period. Perfect warrior, perfect knight.
I use the present tense rather than the past because even though he has passed, Stan The Man will never be a “was” to St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Surely some of his records will fall—some already have. But the numbers only tell part of the story of Stan The Man. The word most often associated with him off the field was “decent”…How many times do you hear that nowadays? I never had the privilege of meeting Stan Musial, but so many in St. Louis had—and described it exactly the same way every single time—he felt like an old friend. It’s hard to imagine Cardinals baseball without Stan The Man’s physical presence, but his spirit, his memory will never leave the Cards.
Regardless, the sports gods did not let the opportunity to illuminate the legacy of Stan Musial just a little more pass them by.
Today I looked forward to listening to the broadcast of the belated first St. Louis Blues game of the season, and the news of Stan The Man’s passing hit me just before I fired up my computer looking for the stream. So it turned the evening bittersweet, to say the least. I basically thumbed through my Twitter feed, read articles, and looked at pictures of Stan The Man while listening to the hockey game. When the Blues scored their fourth goal of the night, I thought “wouldn’t it be something if they ended up scoring six tonight…” Stan The Man wore number six. And sure enough, the Blues ended up beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-0. As if for an extra tip of the cap to Stan The Man’s unparalleled consistency, they scored two goals in each period. Simply incredible. For a guy who recently relocated 800+ miles from the only home he’s ever known, that put a smile on my face.
Goodnight, St. Louis. And rest in peace, Stan Musial. Thank you for being Cardinals Baseball.
Today is the 90th birthday of the greatest St. Louis Cardinal who ever lived, Stan “The Man” Musial.
One quick glance at Musial’s career statistics is all it takes to realize his numbers speak for themselves. Yet, for some reason, Musial doesn’t seem to garner the same mythical national status of players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and others. The funny thing is, any time a player broke a National League record over the past 50 years, it’s highly likely it was a Stan Musial record being broken. Musial should be celebrated more outside of St. Louis. He deserves a birthday tribute on SportsCenter, a column from every national baseball writer, tweets and blog entries from every truly knowledgeable fan, and his due as one of the greatest living baseball legends. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a couple months will go a long way toward fulfilling that recognition. But Musial would probably tell you, in his ever-humble manner, that he doesn’t want anyone to go to any trouble over him. All the more reason to do just that.
I’d love to use this space to relay a funny or heartwarming personal story about Stan The Man, but I’ve never met him in person. Like almost everyone in the St. Louis area, however, I do feel this strong connection to him when I see him on TV or circling Busch Stadium before a Cardinals game. He’s a Hall of Fame player, one of the best ever…and probably an even better human being. The inscription on his statue in front of Busch Stadium is a sentence burned into the minds of Cardinal Nation like the Pledge of Allegiance or a bedtime prayer: “Here stands Baseball’s Perfect Warrior; here stands Baseball’s Perfect Knight.” Musial’s baseball records may have been eclipsed over the years, but that description has yet to even be approached by anyone else.
Check out some awesome Stan The Man links to truly understand what he means to St. Louis and Major League Baseball:
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives us 90 reasons to love Stan The Man.
Musial celebrates his 90th birthday with friends and family. (video)
Stan The Man’s MLB.com Hall of Fame biography. (video)
Happy Birthday, Stan The Man…any here’s to many more.