ST. LOUIS (AP) - No last name necessary.
A slew of batting titles. Corkscrew stance. Humble. A gentleman. All-around good guy.
Stan the Man.
Stanley Frank Musial, the St. Louis Cardinals star who was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, died Saturday. He was 92.
“I never heard anybody say a bad word about him _ ever,” Willie Mays said in a statement released by the Hall of Fame.
The Cardinals announced Musial’s death in a news release and said he died at his home in Ladue, a St. Louis suburb, surrounded by family. The team said Musial’s son-in-law, Dave Edmonds, informed the club of the slugger’s death.
Earlier Saturday, baseball lost another Hall of Famer when longtime Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver died at age 82.
Musial, the Midwest icon with too many batting records to fit on his Hall of Fame plaque, was so revered in St. Louis that two statues in his honor stand outside Busch Stadium _ one just wouldn’t do him justice. He was one of baseball’s greatest hitters, every bit the equal of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio even without the bright lights of the big city.
Musial won seven National League batting crowns, was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals capture three World Series championships in the 1940s.
He spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team 24 times _ baseball held two All-Star games each summer for a few seasons. He had been the longest-tenured living Hall of Famer.
“Stan will be remembered in baseball annals as one of the pillars of our game,” Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. “The mold broke with Stan. There will never be another like him.”
A pitcher in the low minors until he injured his arm, Musial turned to playing the outfield and first base. It was a stroke of luck for him, as he went on to hit .331 with 475 home runs before retiring in 1963.
Widely considered the greatest Cardinals player ever, Musial was the first person in team history to have his number retired. Ol’ 6 probably was the most popular, too, especially after Albert Pujols skipped town.
“I will cherish my friendship with Stan for as long as I live,” Pujols wrote on Twitter. “Rest in Peace.”
At the suggestion of a pal, actor John Wayne, Musial carried around autographed cards of himself to give away. He enjoyed doing magic tricks for kids and was fond of pulling out a harmonica to entertain crowds with a favorite, “The Wabash Cannonball.”