Hall of Famer Stan "the Man" Musial was born 85 years ago this week, on November 21, 1920 in Donora, a steel-mill town in Pennsylvania. Prior to the 1938 season, the Cardinals signed a 17 year-old Musial, a young pitcher, as an amateur free agent. Along with his pitching, Musial was noticed for his speed on the bases.
His nickname at the time was the "Donora Greyhound". Although considered a strong base runner during his major league career, he never stole more than nine bases in a season. During the 1940 season, Musial began to see time as an outfielder, in addition to his appearances on the mound. While making a spectacular diving catch, Musial sustained a shoulder injury that ended his pitching career. Stan was convinced by his manager, former White Sox great Dickie Kerr, to remain in baseball as an outfielder.
The next year, Musial received a September call-up from the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his major league debut on September 17, 1941 with the Cards, the team with which he spent his entire 22-year career. Musial made an immediate impact upon joining the team; in his first four seasons with the Cardinals they won four NL pennants and three World Series Championships. After four seasons with the club, Musial, like many other players at the time, joined the Navy and served his country in World War II.
When Musial came up in 41, he was handed uniform #19, the next season equipment manager Butch Yatkeman gave him the number he made famous, “6”. His number was the first number retired by the St. Louis Cardinals and the bronze image of Stan “the Man” Musial - “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior, here stands baseball’s perfect knight” still stands on the northeast corner of what is left of the old Busch Stadium.
Musial would return to the Cardinals in 1946 and had the best season of his career in 1948. That year, Musial won his third MVP award and his third batting title (.376). He led the National League in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits, slugging OBP, and OPS. He was one home run shy of winning the Triple Crown. A force at the plate, with his unique corkscrew stance, he exceeded the 300 mark 17 times in his career and surpassed the 3,000 hit milestone, finishing his career with 3,630 hits.
Musial was a threat both at home and on the road, hitting exactly half of his hits in St. Louis and half in other ballparks. His average was consistent as well, hitting .336 at home and .326 away. Musial won seven National League batting titles, appeared in 24 All-Star games, and was named the National League Most Valuable Player three times.
Defensively, Musial became the first man to play more than 1,000 games at each of two positions, left field and first base. In 1956 The Sporting News named Musial its first Player of the Decade. Stan the Man played his final game on September 29, 1963. After his retirement, Musial stayed with the Cardinals organization for more than 25 years, first as a general manager in 1967, a year that would see the Cardinals win the World Series, and then as a senior vice president. Musial was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
We wish him a very happy birthday and for Cardinal fans everywhere, he is still “The Man.”
Special thank you to - the Baseball Hall of Fame Newsletter Inside Pitch, Stan "the Man" Musial, birthday message and the St. Louis Cardinals Encycopedia by Bob Broeg, Hall of Fame Journalist and Jerry Vickery for the contributions to this report.
The Hall of Fame's Stan Musial Bio Page
Stanley Frank Musial
Elected to Hall of Fame by Baseball
Writers in 1969, Player
317 votes on 340 ballots 93.24%
of Fame plaque for Stan Musial
Born: November 21, 1920, in Donora, Pennsylvania
ML Debut: 9/17/1941
Primary Position: Left Fielder
Bats: L Throws: L Primary Uniform
Played For: St. Louis Cardinals (1941-1944, 1946-1963)
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Post-Season: 1942 World Series, 1943 World Series, 1944 World Series,
1946 World Series
Awards: All-Star (24): 1943-44, 1946-63; National
League Most Valuable Player 1943, 1946, 1948
Bio | Video
(Streaming Windows Media)
After 22 years as a Cardinal, Stan Musial
ranked at or near the top of baseball's all-time lists in almost every batting
category. The dead-armed Class C pitcher was transformed into a slugging
outfielder who topped the .300 mark 17 times and won seven National League
batting titles with his famed corkscrew stance and ringing line drives. A
three-time MVP, he played in 24 All-Star games. He was nicknamed "The Man" by
Dodger fans for the havoc he wrought at Ebbets Field and was but one home run
shy of capturing the National League Triple Crown in 1948.
"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands
baseball's perfect knight."
— Ford C. Frick
Did You Know... that on May 2, 1954, Stan Musial hit a record five
home runs in a doubleheader against the Giants, including two round-trippers off
future Hall of Fame pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm?
Hall of Fame Teammate: Johnny
Learn more about Stan Musial
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the Hall of Fame ballot from the year Stan Musial was inducted.
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