Six to Know: Stan Musial

Stan1Cardinals great Stan Musial, 92, died Saturday. The three-time MVP, 20-time All-Star, played 22 seasons and 3026 games with St. Louis. He became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1969 gatting 93.2% of the vote.

Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history,” said William DeWitt Jr., chairman of the team, “and one of the best players in the history of baseball.”

Musial was the first Cardinal to have his number retired when the Cardinals retired number six on September 29, 1963.


Here’s six to know about #6

  1. Musial retired with exactly 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 on the road.
  2. Musial had two hits in his first game on September 17, 1941 at age 20 and two hits in final game on September 29, 1963 at age 42.
  3. In 2012, 149 players ended the season with at least 89 strikeouts. In 1962 and 1963, the last two seasons of Musial’s career, Stan struck out 46 and 43 times respectively, the highest season totals in his 22 season career.
  4. Musial had 17 seasons hitting over .300 only Ty Cobb (21) and Tris Speaker (18) did it more frequently.
  5. Musial had 177 triples, no batter with over 400 homers (Stan hit 475) had more.
  6. On September 28, 1952, in the final game of the Cardinals season, in a game that the Cubs would win 3-0, Musial made his last and only MLB pitching appearance. Musial had started his Cardinals minor league career in 1936 as a pitcher before a shoulder injury brought that to an end.

After the Cubs leadoff batter, Tommy Brown drew a walk off of Cards’ starter Harvey Haddix, Musial moved from centerfield to pitcher, Hal Rice went from right field to center, and Haddix moved from the mound to right. Musial faced Frank Baumholtz who reached on an error by Cards third baseman Solly Hemus and then the three Cardinal players returned to their original positions. Haddix then threw a double play grounder with Brown scoring to end Musial’s pitching line score.

Here’s the rest of the story: Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky, the day before, had said he would use Musial on the mound in the last game only if the Cardinals had clinched third place, which they had (remember teams received money for a third-place finish) and would specifically be brought in to face Frankie Baumholtz because he was in second place behind Musial in the NL batting race.

In the final game, Musial ended up going 1-for-3 winning the batting race with a .336 avg. Baumholtz went 1-for-4 and finished second at .325. It was Musial’s sixth title. He won his seventh and final batting crown in 1957. His .336 in 1952 was his lowest for any of his batting crowns and his 11th worst average of his career and just slightly above his .331 lifetime average.

In that same game, Hank Sauer went 0-for-4 ending in a tie for NL home run crown with Ralph Kiner with 37.

“Major League Baseball has lost one of its true legends in Stan Musial, a Hall of Famer in every sense and a man who led a great American life. He was the heart and soul of the historic St. Louis Cardinals franchise for generations, and he served his country during World War II. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, Stan’s life embodies baseball’s unparalleled history and why this game is the national pastime.

“As remarkable as ‘Stan the Man’ was on the field, he was a true gentleman in life. All of Major League Baseball mourns his passing, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, admirers and all the fans of the Cardinals.” – Commissioner Bud Selig