In Memoriam: Stan the Man

“He could hit .300 with a fountain pen.”–Joe Garagiola on Stan Musial

“You wait for a strike, then you knock the shit out of it.”–Stan Musial on hitting a baseball

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown. I talk to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check my 1975 hair!

He was the only baseball hall-of-famer I ever had my picture taken with.  Hell, he was the only hall of fame anything–sports or otherwise–I am likely to ever have my picture taken with.  The fact that he was sitting behind me, bored as hell, as I droned on at a press conference for the 1 millionth run promotion, doesn’t diminish it for me.  I will cherish the image at left as long as I live.   That I was ever that young (it was 1975) or had that much hair is something for science to ponder.

As for Musial, it may be a cliché, but his record speaks for itself.   A record 24-all star appearances (tied with Willie Mays)…a career .331 batting average…top ten ranking all-time in runs scored, RBI’s and Doubles (one more double than Ty Cobb)…the list goes on an on.  He spent his entire post-playing career as an executive for St. Louis Cardinals.  But perhaps he will be most remembered by those who knew him, before and after his playing days, as one of the finest gentlemen in the sports world.  I can attest to that, having spent two days in the SF Bay area with him during the 1974 World Series.

Mercurial PR man Ted Worner, with whose agency I promoted the millionth run contest, said of Musial, “if he hadn’t been a  baseball player, he’d be pumping gas.”   But he was a ballplayer, and that’s all that matters.  He died yesterday at age 92.  R.I.P., Stan.

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