The world could use Stan Musial right now … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 326 of The Daily Dirt.
1. Today seems like a good day to remember — and appreciate — Stan “The Man” Musial, and what made him special.
Not so much as a ballplayer, but as a human being. The MLB All-Star Game is coming up later this month, and I’m always reminded of my favorite Musial story in reference to this event.
At one of the All-Star Games in the 1950s, Musial noticed a group of Black players — Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron — were keeping to themselves because they felt they were not wanted. The four Black players were playing cards and Musial walked over, sat down and said, “Deal me in.” That was “The Man’s” way of telling those four players they were welcome. Bob Costas delivered the eulogy at Musial’s funeral in 2013. He died at age 92.
“It seems that all that Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer, and nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being,” Costas noted.
Aaron once said of Musial, “I didn’t just like Stan Musial. I wanted to be like him.”
Baseball-wise, Musial probably never received the full adoration he deserved. He played well before every MLB was televised. He also played well before social media could create or destroy a career and/or reputation. Not long before Mickey Mantle died he also paid tribute to Musial.
“I had as much ability as Stan, maybe more,” Mantle said. “Nobody had more power than me, nobody could run any faster than me. But Stan was a better player than me, because he’s better than me. (Musial) got everything out of his life and out of his ability that he could and he’ll never have to live with all the regret that I live with.”
Prior to Musial’s final at-bat in his final game, the late, great announcer, Harry Caray, said:
“Take a look, fans. Take a good, long look. Remember the swing and the stance. We won’t see his like again.”
Harry was right.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Being a lifelong Cardinals fan, the biggest regret I have in my life of following sports is that I never got to see Musial play. I barely remember Gibby. I got to see Lou run. I watched McGwire’s juiced-up home run chase and I was entertained with a decade of dominance from Albert Pujols. I had to settle for listening to my dad, grandfathers and uncles revel in tales of Stan The Man. The way they talked about him back then made me long for being born about 15 years earlier. JRG
2. Here’s the week’s top license plates spotted in Quincy and surrounding towns:
LACT 8: Most creative plate of the week.
CRISIS: I should hang this above our front door at home, accompanied by an “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign.
KING OF Q: Was this J. Robert Gough’s vehicle? (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Steve means “Quincy” here, not “Q-Anon”. Apparently, some folks who ventured here last weekend for the Miller/Trump rally saw the Q-Fest signs for the annual festival in Washington Park and tried to make a connection with the conspiratorial Trump-loving group. Christ, people. Unclutch your pearls. JRG)
I R HERE: Funniest of the week.
AVATARA: Obviously we have a movie fan here.
Early next week, we’ll have an updated medal stand for the best plates of the year. (Hint: The status quo is no more.)
3. How about the news of USC and UCLA moving to the Big Ten over the next couple of years?
That sound you just heard was the death knell for the Pac-12. Look for Oregon to be the next member of that conference to jump ship.
Steve Thought O’ The Day — I need to add another MLB manager to the endangered species list. Rocco Baldelli of the Twins continues to make decisions with his pitching staff, particularly his relievers, that are simply baffling. Baldelli may even beat Tony LaRussa of the White Sox to the chopping block.
Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Pray for him to not burn himself on his grill or blow off an appendage with a firecracker over the next few days.
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