By Andrew Likes, Sr. Director of Media Relations
Team Lead, Crisis Communications & Training
I never had the opportunity to see him play. His career ended before I was born. Yet, I’ve felt the impact of #6, the greatest St. Louis Cardinal to ever play the game of baseball, Stan “The Man” Musial. Generations of St. Louisans, even the most casual baseball fans, know Musial. His statue presides over Busch Stadium, larger than life and teeming with detail, a great tribute to the star that he was. There will never, ever — and I don’t use those terms lightly — be another baseball player like Stan Musial. Why? Stan was more than just a player. He cared about more than the money, he was the best at what he did, and he was not just a part of the community- he made the St. Louis community better. Stan played in 24 Major League Baseball All-Star games, was a three-time Most Valuable Player and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He also has seven batting titles and three World Series Rings.
There are many words being used to describe Mr. Musial. Words that portray a man of integrity, who was generous with his time and money. Many simply called him a hero. His legacy is well-documented in St. Louis. Even decades after retiring, he rarely missed an opening day at Busch Stadium. And, he was always giving time and money to local causes.
We can learn a lot about life and business from a baseball player like Stan, who was arguably the best to ever wear a uniform. As an athlete and a man, his character was impeccable. Stan wanted no part of it when major leaguers talked about not taking the field against Jackie Robinson in 1947. Decades later, it is current superstars like Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran who called it an honor just to meet Musial and shake his hand. He galvanized a sport, a city and a nation. Musial even left a storied baseball career in the middle of his prime, missing the entire 1945 season to serve in the Navy. As a fitting tribute to his career and life, President Barack Obama presented Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States.
In a time when sports stars like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds have their integrity called on the carpet, Musial stands strong, the best of the best. Stan Musial can also be a barometer for personal and business success. He didn’t always win, he didn’t always hit home runs and he wasn’t always on top. But today, that’s not what we hear; we hear only praise and stories about his successes. That should speak volumes about a man whose legacy will live on. Like the Arch, the Clydesdales, Toasted Ravioli and Ted Drewes, he, simply put, was St. Louis.
At The Vandiver Group, we honor Stan “The Man” Musial, his family and the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Stan Musial, gone, but certainly not forgotten. 1920 – 2013