Remembering Stan Musial: Cardinals legend would be celebrating 100th birthday Saturday
ST. LOUIS (KY3) - St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial would be celebrating his centennial birthday on Saturday.
“Stan The Man” was born 100 years ago on Nov. 21, 1920. He spent his entire Major League Baseball career with the Cardinals from 1941-1963 as a first baseman and outfielder, and he remains the all-time leader of 22 franchise batting records.
Widely considered the top icon in St. Louis sports and one of the top hitters in baseball history, Musial is also a three time MVP-winner and three-time World Series champion. Baseball fans also remember him for his kindness and passion for the game. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1969.
Musial died on January 19, 2013 at the age of 92.
In celebration of what would’ve been his 100th birthday, here’s some facts you may not have known about Stan Musial:
1. Prior to his major-league promotion with the Cardinals, Musial played 87 games with the team’s minor league affiliate in Springfield, Missouri and hit .379.
2. Musial was a model of consistency for hitting, regardless of the ballpark. Of his 3,630 career hits (fourth-best in baseball history), exactly half came on the road (1,815) and half came at home (1,815).
3. Musial was known as a disciplined hitter and finished with a low strikeout rate. He only struck out 696 times in 22 seasons, averaging less than 40 whiffs a season. For comparison, at least one hitter has struck out 200 times in nine of the last ten full seasons.
4. Musial is one of only two players in baseball history to hit five home runs in a doubleheader. It happened May 2, 1954 against the New York Giants. The feat was matched by Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres in 1972, who fittingly grew up in the St. Louis area.
5. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Musial got his nickname “The Man” during a road trip to New York. Brooklyn Dodgers fans at Ebbets Field, awed by his craft for hitting, chanted “Here comes the man” when Musial came to the plate in 1946.
6. Musial missed his age-24 season (1945) to serve in the Navy during World War II. Stationed in Pearl Harbor, he was able to keep his baseball skills sharp by playing in the base’s eight-team baseball league.
7. Musial enjoyed playing the harmonica in his spare time. He played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 1997 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies and even performed harmonica solos during a few Opening Day celebrations for the Cardinals.
8. A statue of Musial was erected outside of Busch Memorial Stadium in 1968. The statue is inscribed with a quote, attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick: “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.” The statue was moved from its original location to one side of the new Busch Stadium ahead of the 2006 season. It serves as a popular meeting place for generations of Cardinals fans.
9. In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the United States can bestow on a civilian.
10. Musial isn’t the only Baseball Hall of Famer born on Nov. 21. Longtime Mariners and Reds slugger Ken Griffey Jr. was born on this day in 1969.
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