Former Cardinals Stan Musial Dies At Age 92

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Published on January 21 2013 1:59 pm
Last Updated on January 21 2013 1:59 pm
Written by Millie Lange

ST. LOUIS, MO. -- Stan Musial, one of baseball's greatest hitters and a Hall of Famer with the St. Louis Cardinals for more than two decades, died Saturday. He was 92.

Stan the Man won seven National League batting titles, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s.

The Cardinals announced Musical's death in a news release. They said he died Saturday evening at his home in Ladue surrounded by family. The team said Musial's son-in-law, Dave Edmonds, informed the club of Musical's death.

"It is a very sad day for me," Willie Mays told ESPN's Willie Weinbaum of Outside The Line at the Baseball WrRiters' Association of America dinner in New York. "I knew Stan very well. He used to take care of me at All-Star games, 24 of them. He was a true gentleman who understood the race thing and did all he could. Again, a true gentleman on and off the field -- I never heard anybody say a bad word about him, ever."

Musial was so revered in St. Louis, two statues of him stand outside Busch Stadium. He spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times -- baseball held two All-Star games each summer for a few seasons.

A pitcher in the low minors until he injured his arm, Musial turned to playing the outfield and first base. It was a stroke of luck for him, as he went on to hit .331 with 475 home runs before retiring in 1963.

Widely considered the greatest Cardinals player ever, the outfielder and first baseman was the first person in team history to have his number retired. Ol' 6 probably was the most popular, too, especially after Albert Pujols skipped town.

At the suggestion of a pal, actor John Wayne, he carried around autographed cards of himself to give away. He enjoyed doing magic tricks for kids and was fond of pulling out a harmonica to entertain crowds with a favorite, "The Wabash Cannonball."

Humble, scandal-free and eager to play every day, Musial struck a chord with fans throughout the Midwest and beyond. For much of his career, St. Louis was the most western outpost in the majors, and the Cardinals' vast radio network spread word about him in all directions.

Farmers in the field and families on the porch would tune in, as did a future president -- Bill Clinton recalled doing his homework listening to Musial's exploits.