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Monday, January 21, 2013

Posnanski: Stan Musial lived to make people happy

Shakespeare said the evil that men do is what lives on after them, with the good oft being interred with the bones. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t thinking about Stan the Man when he wrote that.

But this zeal to make people happy did not end when he stopped playing. Every single day, when Stan Musial left the house, he would tuck his harmonica into his pocket. Every single day, at some point, he would run into someone, and he would pull out that harmonica, and he would play “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Musial would say he learned to play the harmonica because he did not like speaking in public, did not feel comfortable doing it, and the harmonica gave him a voice. It made people smile. [...]

“We all disappointed someone from time to time,” the Hall of Famer Robin Roberts said when we talked about kids and autographs. “Well, all of us but one.”

“Who was that?” I asked.

“Musial,” he said in a voice that indicated I should have already known.

A number of the anecdotes found in Posnanski’s obit originally hail from his classic 2010 Sports Illustrated profile of Musial, but there’s a lot of new material as well. RTFA.

Esoteric Posted: January 21, 2013 at 12:50 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, hall of fame, obituary, role model, st. louis

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 21, 2013 at 02:56 AM (#4351644)
HE DIDN'T MAKE ME HAPPY, MR. PRESIDENT
   2. Shock Posted: January 21, 2013 at 04:23 AM (#4351652)
He lived in a gumdrop house on lollipop lane.

Seriously though, great article. Of course.
   3. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 21, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4351667)
Great article. I've seen this story attributed to Rogers Hornsby though.

"Young man," the umpire said. "Mr. Musial will be happy to let you know when you throw a strike."

   4. Russ Posted: January 21, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4351688)
The gap between Posnanski and almost all other baseball writers is startling. I'm not saying every article Joe writes is a gem, but there are very few that can hit it out of the park like he can. Really nice article.
   5. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 21, 2013 at 05:45 PM (#4352015)
He sure as hell didn't make us happy!

Signed,

National League pitchers, 1941-63
   6. esseff Posted: January 21, 2013 at 06:57 PM (#4352087)
Great article. I've seen this story attributed to Rogers Hornsby though.


And Williams and Cobb and . . .
   7. The District Attorney Posted: January 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4352214)
Just noticed what I take to be a little shot at Poz in a recent Bill Simmons mailbag. Simmons describes six levels of "Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures", the worst of which is (my emphasis added):
Level 6: Anyone who wanted the Paterno statue to stay up; anyone who thinks that Paterno and/or Penn State's administration didn't have an inkling that something was at the very least a little off with Jerry Sandusky; anyone who rushed out a mostly flattering post-scandal biography about Paterno without waiting for the entire investigation to play out; and anyone who said the words, "Well, this may have complicated Joe's legacy, but it didn't change all the great things he did." Welcome to the highest level of Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures.
   8. Tippecanoe Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4352532)
725 times he would turn those hits into doubles, 177 more he would make them triples. No one in baseball history rounded first at full speed as many times as Stan Musial.


This statement implies that he hit the most doubles plus triples in baseball history, but Cobb and Speaker come to mind as players who had more.

Sorry for the quibble. Posnanski really does write very well.
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4352553)
Just noticed what I take to be a little shot at Poz in a recent Bill Simmons mailbag. Simmons describes six levels of "Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures", the worst of which is (my emphasis added):

Level 6: Anyone who wanted the Paterno statue to stay up; anyone who thinks that Paterno and/or Penn State's administration didn't have an inkling that something was at the very least a little off with Jerry Sandusky; anyone who rushed out a mostly flattering post-scandal biography about Paterno without waiting for the entire investigation to play out; and anyone who said the words, "Well, this may have complicated Joe's legacy, but it didn't change all the great things he did." Welcome to the highest level of Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures.


Noticed that, oddly enough (since it was probably the first things of Simmons' I'd read in at least a year; in general, he really does need to be beaten with a blunt instrument early & often). I take a back seat to no one (well, other than Gaelan, I guess, & probably Ray, too) in thinking that Posnanski disgraced himself irredeemably over the whole Paterno mess, but in fairness any "rushing" was done by his publisher, no?

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