- Sports & Recreation
- Stan Musial
By The Sports Xchange January 19, 2013 9:00 PM
Known to many merely as "Stan the Man," Stan Musial, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, died Saturday at the age of 92. The St. Louis Cardinals, the team with whom he spent his entire career, announced Musial's death in a press release, saying that he passed away at home surrounded by his family. No cause of death was provided. A three-time National League MVP and seven-time batting champ, Musial ranks fourth all-time in hits with 3,630. He posted a .331 batting average in his career and swatted 475 home runs. He also appeared in a record 24 All-Star games. Musial stands as one of the most popular players in Cardinals history. He spent his entire 22-year career with the team and helped St. Louis win four National League pennants and three World Series titles (1942, '44 and '46). Musial remained a part of the Cardinals organization after he retired and the team honored him with two statues outside of Busch Stadium. Born Nov. 21, 1920 in Donora, Penn., as the fifth of six children of Eastern European immigrants, Musial first gained attention for his pitching exploits. The Cardinals signed him in 1937 and he started his career as a hurler before arm trouble, and his potent bat, led St. Louis to make him an outfielder full-time. Musial made his big-league debut in 1941 and became a regular in the St. Louis outfield the following year, posting the first of what would be 16 straight .300 seasons. He missed the 1945 campaign while serving in the U.S. Navy. One of Musial's trademarks was his unusual hitting stance. In a deep crouch and with his back almost facing the pitcher, he resembled "a kid peeking around the corner to see if the cops were coming," according to pitcher Ted Lyons. In a career known for prolific hitting, perhaps Musial's most famous blow came in the 1955 All-Star Game when he blasted a walk-off home run to give the National League a 6-5 12-inning victory at Milwaukee's County Stadium. Musial's most productive day came on May 2, 1954, during a doubleheader against the New York Giants. Musial blasted three home runs in the first game and two more in the nightcap to become the first player to hit five homers in one day. While Musial remained one of baseball's top hitters throughout the 1950s, his Cardinals team never enjoyed the same success it had in the previous decade. Musial's final game was Sept. 29, 1963. It was preceded by a ceremony in which his No. 6 was retired by the Cardinals. At the time of his retirement, Musial owned or shared 17 major league records, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 in his first year of eligibility. Musial remained a public figure in St. Louis, especially at Cardinals games, and he could frequently be heard playing his harmonica at various events. He had married his high school sweetheart, Lillian, in 1940 and they remained together until her death in 2012. Musial is survived by his four children.