Half of new Mississippi River bridge named for Stan Musial

David Brown
Big League Stew

Other than naming an entire bridge after him, it's unlikely that anyone can think of a more fitting tribute to Stan "The Man" Musial than naming, well, half of a new Mississippi River bridge after the greatest St. Louis Cardinals player of all time.

The Missouri legislature did its part Monday, sending a bill to governor Jay Nixon that would name the western side of the bridge — part of Interstate 70 that runs into St. Louis and goes over the river — after Musial, who died at age 92 in January.

Now, all we need is for the Illinois side to do its part and agree on Musial, and we would have ourselves The Stan Musial Bridge in its entirety. Right, Illinois? Hello?

Uh oh.

From the Kansas City Star:

The Illinois House last week passed a resolution to name the new bridge the “Veterans' Memorial Bridge.”

That decision contrasted with the unity shown by the four U.S. senators who represent Missouri and Illinois. They have all endorsed the Musial name.


The lone opponent, Republican Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, declined to explain his opposition. He represents parts of Cole and Miller counties.

Well, it's just shocking that the state government of Illinois isn't on the same page as everyone else. In earlier versions of the naming process, Missouri legislators added a proviso stating that the bridge would be named for Musial only if the Illinois side agreed. They got tired of waiting, apparently.

Still, Missouri's state Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, who sponsored the Musial bill, said he expects Illinois to come around and warm to Stan the Man because "There's a lot of Cardinals fans in Illinois.”

That there are — from the state capital on down Interstate 55. But there's also lots of hangups in Illinois government.

Now, there's nothing wrong with honoring "veterans" by naming the bridge after them, but let's be honest: It also sounds like a name you use when you're out of other ideas. Further, our veterans need a lot more from us than having objects named in their honor.

If the state of Illinois had a scheme to make some money off the bridge by naming it after a sponsor, and if doing so would help lower taxes and balance the state's budget, then they might have "The Stan Musial Bridge" beat. It doesn't sound like they do.

So, at the glacial rate of change in Illinois, it's possible the Stan Musial Bridge will only be half-named when the signs for Musial go up on the Missouri side. Illinois, well, it will get back to you later.

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