The reason Musial was heading into his 22nd major-league season in 1963 was because he had produced spectacularly in 1962.
After three consecutive seasons of finishing with batting averages below .290, the seven-time National League batting champion had indicated 1962 would be his last year as a player. He changed his mind, however, after batting .330 with a .416 on-base percentage in 135 games in 1962. Those numbers returned Musial to elite status. He placed third in the league in batting (behind the Dodgers’ Tommy Davis, .346, and the Reds’ Frank Robinson, .342) and first among left-handed batters. Musial also ranked second in the league in on-base percentage (behind Robinson, .421).
Inspired, Musial wanted to return for the 1963 season _ and the Cardinals welcomed him. (General manager Bing Devine and manager Johnny Keane encouraged Musial to return; Branch Rickey, 81, a senior advisor to owner Gussie Busch, said Musial should retire.)
“I felt like I did in the old days,” Musial said to The Sporting News of his 1962 performance. “I knew I was going to hit. I knew I was going to play every day. Yes, my biggest thrill was the overall season. I couldn’t wait for the next game. I really hated to see last season end and I can’t wait for the next one to start.”
Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 11 comment(s)
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