Tag Archive | "Stan The Man"

Ichiro Reaches Musial Numbers

The New York Yankees’ outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, reaches an amazing plateau last night.

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With a single to left field, Ichiro had his 4,000th hit of his professional career.  That’s a number that has only been accomplished in Major League Baseball by two individuals, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.  The problem is, Ichiro did not reach that level in the big leagues.

The 4,000 hits of Ichiro’s professional career span his time in Japan as well as his time in Major League Baseball.  When you combine his 2,722 hits in his MLB career with his 1,278 hits in Japan, Ichiro has reached that mystical 4,000 hit mark.  When you look at it that way, and The Hall Of Very Good did just that here, Ichiro is not the third man to reach that number.  He’s the seventh.

There are some names of importance and some names that beg the question “Who?”, but most importantly to Cardinal fans, there’s a name of historical proportions.

Stan “The Man” Musial had 4,001 hits in his professional career.

That’s a career that started with three minor league seasons as a pitcher before moving to the outfield.  It’s a career that saw an entire season lost while he served his country proudly in World War II.

One of the game’s greatest hitters, and the Cardinals’ greatest ever, achieved 4,001 hits in his career while spending four seasons not hitting.

It is hard to say what Musial would have achieved with those four seasons back.  Even harder to predict what he would have done in today’s environment.  None of this is to say that Ichiro is anything less than a Hall Of Fame outfielder.  Maybe it’s to say just how good he has been.

With his next hit, Ichiro will tie Stan Musial for number of hits in a professional career.

That is the epitome of elite company.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!, InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

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St. Louis Cardinals have big opportunity with new Hall of Fame

As the St. Louis Cardinals pursue their 12th championship in 2013 on the field of the latest version of Busch Stadium, the site of the previous ballpark is undergoing a transformation from a vacant lot to what should be a vibrant home for Cardinals fans to celebrate, as well as learn about the franchise’s impressive history.

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Seven years after the Cardinals moved into the new stadium, Ballpark Village is finally taking shape beyond the leftfield wall. Construction is ongoing on buildings that will host restaurants, beer gardens, views into the stadium and the premier aspect of the new development: the new Cardinals Hall of Fame.

The franchise had a hall of fame and museum for years across the street from the old stadium, but it was torn down a few years after the team moved to the new ballpark. The team’s hall of fame has since been online, but it should have a new home by Opening Day 2014.

The Cardinals have enough history to share with their fans to probably fill the entire Ballpark Village complex, but of course, brick-and-morter buildings only have so much space.

So, what must the team include in the new hall of fame?

First, the hall of fame should be a place to honor Stan “The Man” Musial as never before. The organization honored Musial many times during his life and has provided meaningful tributes since he died Jan. 19 at age 92. The Cardinals wear a patch to honor Musial on the left sleeve of their uniforms this season and he has long had a statue at the main entrance of the latest two versions of Busch Stadium.

However, any Cardinals hall of fame must begin with Musial. He probably doesn’t need another statue; he already has two outside the stadium, but the entrance to the hall of fame could be flush with Musial tributes and memorabilia. Maybe a large No. 6 could hang from the ceiling in the front lobby and video pieces about Musial could play in the background.

Also, fans that enter the hall of fame could be treated to a video piece that tells the story of Cardinals history, from when the team began play in 1892 through the 11 championships and the many great players who played on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Of course, the main attraction to any hall of fame is the people who are enshrined, and the Cardinals have plenty of nominees worthy of that honor.

The 14 people with their pictures on the leftfield wall are obvious choices. From Rogers Hornsby, who helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 1926 as a player/manager, to Tony La Russa, who guided the team to its 10th and 11th championships as manager, the people honored on the retired numbers wall comprise the greatest collection of Cardinals heroes.

But they aren’t the only people who should be enshrined the hall of fame. Longtime Cardinals fans all have favorite players from a bygone era, and the new hall of fame would be a perfect place to honor those players who were integral in the team’s success but don’t have their number retired and aren’t in the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Frank Fritch from the 1920s and 1930s, Pepper Martin from 1928 through 1944 and Joe Medwick through much of the 1930s are all players before the television era who were vital to the team’s success in those years, and it would be special for the organization to give fans a chance to learn about those greats.

Players from the 1980s such as Willie McGee and Darrell Porter should certainly have plaques in the hall of fame, along with John Tudor, Joaquin Andujar and Todd Worrell. Before that era, Mike Shannon should be in the hall as a player and broadcaster, and Shannon’s teammates from the 1960s such as Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda and Curt Flood should be included.

Many other players throughout the years will certainly qualify for enshrinement, but the hall of fame is also a museum, and part of what will likely make it a must-see destination for Cardinals fans is the variety of memorabilia in the building.

Since the team has played in four different stadiums, portions of each should be represented in new exhibits. Sportsman’s Park hosted Cardinals baseball beginning in 1892, but the team also played on a field known by the same name in those early years before returning to the corner of Grand and Dodier avenues in the late 1920s.

That park was home to Cardinals baseball until 1966, when the team moved into the big concrete bowl in downtown called Busch Stadium. That park hosted baseball and football for many years and eventually gave way to the current Busch Stadium in 2006.

Each of those stadiums had their unique features, but the moments inside them are what made them special. Certainly, items from memorable moments such as Ozzie Smith’s “Go crazy, folks!” homerun in 1985 should be included, as well as mementos from Game 6 of the 2011 World Series when David Freese capped off a 10-9 win over the Texas Rangers in 11 innings.

Those moments were great, no doubt, but the Cardinals could really personalize the hall of fame if they have memorabilia from a variety of events in team history. Something from the day Glenn Brummer stole home against the San Francisco Giants would be cool, as would something from the day Lou Brock broke Ty Cobb’s stolen base record with 118 swipes in 1974 or anything from Bob Gibson’s record-setting 1968 season when he pitched to a 1.12 earned-run average.

It is long-past time for the Cardinals to have a home for their incredibly deep, lively history. The franchise has accumulated so many successes and wonderful stories through more than a century of baseball that its hall of fame and museum is certain to be one of the best in the country.

Hopefully the team does it right and Ballpark Village becomes the home to the proper roots for Cardinals Nation.

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Springfield Cardinals To Honor Stan Musial

Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals, Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, have unveiled the design for their Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys, which the team will wear onSunday, June 16 for the 6:09pm game against the Tulsa Drillers.

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The ultimate tribute to the greatest Cardinal of them all, the cream-colored Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys are exact replicas of the St. Louis Cardinals uniforms from 1941, the year that Stan “The Man” played in Springfield before making his St. Louis debut later in the season on Sept. 17.

On Sunday, June 16, every Springfield Cardinal will not only don the tribute jerseys, but the entire team will also wear #6, marking the first time in 50 years that a Cardinal has worn the revered number.

The Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys will feature the Stan Musial #6 Patch that both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Springfield Cardinals have been wearing on their left sleeves all season. The jerseys will also have a Stan Musial Tribute Jersey Patch on the bottom right, commemorating the day’s special celebration of the life and career of the Cardinals legend.

In line with both Musial’s excellence on the field and his dedication to the community, the game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off during the June 16 game to benefit the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.

For more information, visit SpringfieldCardinals.com or call (417) 863-0395.

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Cardinals To Auction Musial Hockey Jerseys

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (February 15, 2013) – Today, Cardinals Care, the charitable foundation of the St.  Louis Cardinals, announced the start of a ten-day online auction of commemorative “Musial 6” jerseys worn and autographed by St. Louis Blues hockey players.

The auction, which begins today at noon and continues through Monday, February 25 at 3 p.m., features five one-of-a-kind jerseys worn when the St. Louis Blues honored Stan “The Man” Musial before the January 27 game at Scottrade Center. Musial’s grandson dropped the ceremonial first puck, and all Blues players wore jerseys with “Musial” and “No. 6” during pregame warmups.

The Cardinals’ auction includes the autographed jerseys belonging to Blues players David Perron, Brian Elliott, Kris Russell, Ian Cole and Jamie Langenbrunner. Proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit Cardinals Care in their mission to help kids throughout the Cardinals’ community. Those wishing to bid on the rare jerseys can do so by visiting the Cardinals’ website at cardinals.com/musialauction.

“We are extremely grateful to the St. Louis Blues,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Cardinals Care and Community Relations. “The Blues supported the Cardinals family during our time of need and are making it possible for Cardinals Care to help kids in our community, a cause close to the heart of Stan Musial.”

Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the Cardinals organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field. Since it was established 16 years ago, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in neighborhoods in both Missouri and Illinois. For nearly a decade, Cardinals Care has run the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.

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Stan Musial was perhaps as close to perfect as sports can get

Stan “The Man” Musial was unquestionably the greatest player to ever wear a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, but he was also one of the greatest people to wear any kind of sports uniform.

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Musial died Saturday at age 92, and for the next several days many tributes will highlight his work on and off the field. He deserves every single one of them.

Musial was a great baseball player, no doubt, but he was also a unique person in the world of sports.

Sometimes that word is used to describe interesting personalities who do things that aren’t normal. For example, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych would talk to the baseball while pitching for the Detroit Tigers in the late 1970s.

Fidrych, and the many characters who speckle the sports landscape are unique in that sense, but Musial was unique because he was just good — at everything.

Musial had a career .331 batting average, he hit a franchise-record 475 homeruns, he was named to 24 All-Star teams, he won three Most Valuable Player awards and three world championships, and he set the National League record for hits at the time with 3,630. Remarkably, he got exactly 1,315 of those hits during home games and 1,315 on the road.

That symmetry is fitting for Musial because he never seemed to do anything wrong on or off the field.

He did, of course. He’s only human. But he was never involved in a scandal, he served his country as a member of the Navy during World War II, he was unquestionably loyal to his team and family, and he didn’t get caught in the trappings of fame that entangle so many athletes. That’s partly why he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, the highest honor for an American civilian.

It would be easy to use examples of Musial’s life as an opportunity to take shots at current athletes who have over-inflated egos and get into all sorts of trouble, but Musial’s greatness stands above celebrity athletes past and present.

Nobody has ever talked about how Musial was a tough son-of-a-gun who would run someone over regardless of circumstances, as Ty Cobb or Pete Rose might. People also don’t talk about Musial as someone who had a need to say something outrageous to the media just so his name would be in the newspaper the next day.

No one ever said those things about Musial because he simply didn’t do them, and that largely explains why Cardinals fans adored him so much. He combined greatness on the field with greatness off of it.

It’s been a rough year in sports heroes. JoePaterno, who had a reputation nearly as clean as Musial, died in January 2012, but not before his reputation was destroyed when reports said he didn’t pursue allegations of sexual misconduct by his defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky.

Cardinals fans know how it feels to have a revered sports figure’s reputation go from nearly perfect to uncaring, at best. Albert Pujols,perhaps the best Cardinals player since Musial, left the franchise last year after 11 seasons to sign a megadeal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Musial’s life stands in stark contrast to all of those other famous figures. He had the chance to leave the Cardinals after the 1946 season. At that point in his career, Musial had spent five seasons with the Cardinals and had already been named to three All-Star teams and won two MVP awards.

A Mexican professional baseball league offered him $125,000 for five years, but Musial didn’t leave to take the money. He was only making $13,500 with the Cardinals, but he stayed and played the remainder of his 22-year career in St. Louis.

The inscription on Musial’s statue outside Busch Stadium says, in the words of former commissioner Ford C. Frick, “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.”

No human is actually perfect, much less baseball players, but Musial might be have been as close as anyone who ever put on a baseball uniform.

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