One of my real passions in my private life is baseball. I attend many major and minor league games all over the country each year. Given that is the case, it is especially lucky for me that my professional career has taken me to St. Louis. Baseball is a three generation family affair here in Cardinal Nation and is as close as sporting gets to a religion.
One of the benefits of being a Cardinal's fan is that we have a great tradition stretching back to the turn of the Century - having in fact won more World Series than any other team than the Yankees(a distant second). We have a history of Great players. And those players, are very visible members of the Cardinals family. They actively take part in spring training and are visible at the ballpark many times during the long baseball campaign - especially so on Opening Day and throughout the playoffs (when the Cards are there and they usually are).
It is common enough to see players & managers like Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, Bob Forsch, Jack Clark, Whitey Herzog, etc. But the Greatest Cardinal of them all is Stanislaus Francis "Stashu" Musial or as we all know him - STAN THE MAN.
In a 22-season Major League career, Stan established himself as one of the greatest hitters of all time. He batted .331 lifetime with a .417 on-base percentage and a .559 slugging percentage. Musial hit 475 home runs, amassed 3,630 hits, 1,951 RBIs and scored 1,949 runs, and was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player. He appeared in 24 All-Star games. He won seven batting titles and led the NL in doubles eight times, runs five times, hits six times, triples five times, RBIs twice and total bases six times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first season of eligibility, receiving more than 93 percent of the vote to enter the Hall in 1969.
But, he is an even better person and is recognized as such by all of St. Louis. A ardent group of supporters has been lobbying to get him the Presidential Medal of Freedom while he's still with us. Stan is 90 years old next week. And, they've done it! Stan will be presented with the Medal and St. Louis couldn't be happier.
See here for link to story on St. Louis Cardinals site. Meet me at Stan's Statue to attend the ceremony.