COMMENTARY | Stan "The Man" Musial was a fixture for the St. Louis Cardinals for his entire career. That career led him to the Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Along the way, Musial became a legendary figure in St. Louis, both on and off the field.
During the annual festival known as "Winter Warm Up" in 2013, Cardinal fans received the news that Stan Musial had passed away. Many took the opportunity to go to Busch Stadium and leave flowers, pictures, cards and notes at the foot of his statue. The event continued under a somber feeling and players shared stories of their interactions with Musial over the years.
Almost immediately, one of the many Cardinal blogs on the internet proposed that the playing field of Busch Stadium should be named in Stan's honor. That proposal, which is archived on Chris Mallonee's website here, took on a bit of support before finally dying down shortly after the season started. The head of the United Cardinal Bloggers, Daniel Shoptaw, has put together another proposal that you can read about over at his site by clicking here. That proposal involves making June 6th "Stan Musial Day" for the Cardinals.
Both of these ideas are well thought out and deserve some merit. While I have a tremendous amount of respect for Musial and what he did for his country and for St. Louis, I tend to wonder if any of this would really be necessary. The Cardinals have done a very good job of honoring Musial while he was alive and, at least in my mind, I'm not sure more should be asked of from the club.
Cardinal fans know, if you are going to Busch Stadium and meeting someone there for the game, there is only one true place to meet. You meet at Stan. The statue, which stood in front of Busch Memorial Stadium prior to being moved to the west side of the current home of the Cardinals, is inscribed with former commissioner of baseball Ford C Frick's quote "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight".
The "other" statue
Musial is the only player in baseball that has two statues outside of the stadium of his former team. While the massive monument on the west side of the stadium is one of the most prominent landmarks in St. Louis, he is also enshrined in the Plaza of Champions that stands at the northwest corner of the stadium. The plaza contains statues of many of the Cardinals' most prominent players over the years, including Musial.
The Musial Bridge
When the current version of Busch Stadium was built, many areas were developed to pay tribute to the history of the franchise. The west side of the stadium, which contains an elevated walking path that passes behind the monument of Musial, resembles the massive Mississippi River bridges that the river city of St. Louis is known for. The area of the stadium was named "The Musial Bridge" both in honor of Musial and in acknowledgement of the view of the statue that it created.
In addition to those things, his number is retired, the team will wear a patch on the sleeve of their jerseys throughout the 2013 season, and a replica of the patch has been painted on the left-center field wall. The team has held nights in his honor and continually acknowledged his impact on the franchise and the city.
Best of all, they did it while he was alive and he and his family could enjoy the accolades being showered onto him.
No one will fault the Cardinals if they should decide to do more to honor Musial.
I just don't think they should feel required to.
- Sports & Recreation