Goodbye to Stan Musial

I suppose I should put up some film of his peerless batting…but this clip captures the boyish earnestness, kindness and lack of pretension that were just as much a part of his enormous appeal.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

7 thoughts on “Goodbye to Stan Musial”

    1. I take it you’re alluding here to Earl Weaver, who also died yesterday. I’m sure Stan Musial was a much nicer man, but Earl Weaver had one of the best baseball minds that ever was. Fun fact: (According to Wikipedia) Weaver was thrown out of both games of a double header three times! I don’t know if any other manager has equaled that record, but since they hardly play any double headers any more, no one will match it in future.

      1. No, I was alluding to no one. I grew up in Baltimore. I was a Dodgers fan from 1951, but after I attended opening day with my dad in 1954 I was a fan-for-life of my Ballmer Birds. Because of my Dodgers background I was a fanatical student of Branch Rickey, who was the progenitor for Weaver’s “pitching, defense, and three-run homers” approach to the game. There have been few greater admirers of Earl Weaver than me.

        No, my statement was simply my admiration for a guy who could be an all-time great player without showing up anybody, or strutting and preening, or acting like a spoiled child. Those are things a manager has to do for a variety of reasons, but a player does not. So I would never downgrade Earl Weaver for them, but I had little patience for the same behavior in Reggie Jackson. I think Stan Musial and Al Kaline were the two players I’ve admired the most in sixty years of baseball watching.

  1. A favorite trivia question of mine is,

    “Did Musial get more hits at home or on the road?”

    The answer is “no.” He got exactly 1815 at home and 1815 away.

    Musial campaigned for JFK, and supposedly when they met at the 1962 All-star Game Kennedy said something like,

    “A couple years ago they told me I was too young to run and you were too old to run. But we fooled them.”

    Indeed. At age 41, in 1962, Musial hit .330 with 19 HR’s.

    1. And he amassed his amazing lifetime numbers despite taking out time to serve his country in WWII.

        1. Don’t be too sure. This idea that steroids are somehow a new development in sports is wrong. The truth is pretty much the opposite: steroids came into usage at about the same time sports were invented. In ancient Greece, they weren’t very adept at synthesizing them, but they used bulls’ testicles to do their best. There has never been a time since that athletes weren’t using whatever came to hand to try to gain an advantage. Amphetamine usage was endemic in baseball during the period that Musial and Williams played (and just as prevalent among military pilots, in Williams’ case) and I’d be very surprised if neither of them used them.

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