On January 19, 2013, the face of the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan “The Man” Musial, passed away at age 92.
Stan Musial, widely regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, played his entire 22 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. During his career, he was a 24-time All-Star, 3-time NL MVP, 7-time NL Batting Champion, and 3-time World Series Champion. In Major League Baseball history, Musial’s 3,630 hits ranks 4th all-time, 1,949 runs ranks 9th all-time, and 1,951 RBIs ranks 6th all-time.
In 1945, Musial would leave baseball for a season to serve in the United States Navy during WWII. Gary Suess of Bleacher Report ranked Musial #5 in the top 15 of Hall of Fame players that served in the U.S. Armed Forces. He would join other baseball greats that served their country in the military – Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Ty Cobb.
Stan Musial was a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, elected in 1969 with 93.2% of votes
On February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Stan Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for a civilian. The President described Musial as “an icon untarnished, a beloved pillar of the community, a gentleman you’d want your kids to emulate.”
Stan the Man is a baseball legend that will truly be missed, but his spirit will continue to live on in the history of baseball.
“He didn’t hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn’t hit in 56 straight games. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her, never married a Marilyn Monroe. He didn’t play with the sheer joy and style that goes alongside Willie Mays’ name. None of those easy things are there to associate with Stan Musial. All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being.” – Sportscaster Bob Costas in ESPN SportsCentury (ESPN)
Stan Musial loved to play the harmonica, let’s here him one more time. Share your Stan the Man memories in the comments below.
No Player Received the 75% Required Vote By Baseball Writers’ Association of America
Sporting News reports that “for the first time since 1996 and just the eighth time ever, no player received the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
It is disappointing but not surprising to see the all-time home run leader Barry Bonds (36.2 % of votes) and the 3rd all-time strike outs leader Roger Clemens (37.6% of votes) getting a pass due to their involvement in steroid allegations. Only time will tell if the negative publicity and asterisk hovering over their careers will fade in future voting years.
To fans and supporters of Craig Biggio (68.2% of votes) this came as shocking news since his stats show that he also had the stuff of a Hall of Famer – member of the 3,000 hit club and a man known for playing the game the right way. But based on BBWAA voting, he wasn’t eligible to be a first ballot inductee. This will add to the controversy about “First Ballot Hall of Famer” honors being reserved for the baseball elite. View First Ballot Hall of Famers in history
An MLB statement concerning the lack of inductees in the 2013 class:
Major League Baseball recognizes that election to the Hall of Fame is our game’s most extraordinary individual honor. Achieving enshrinement in Cooperstown is difficult, as it should be, and there have been seven other years when no one was elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. While this year did not produce an electee, there are many worthy candidates who will merit consideration in the future. We respect both the longstanding process that the Hall of Fame has in place and the role of the BBWAA, whose members have voted in the Hall of Fame’s elections since 1936.
37 candidates (including 24 on the ballot for the first time) were eligible for voting by the BBWAA. In 2014, the expected top vote-getters for new candidates will include Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas.
Do you think Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should ever be elected to the Hall of Fame? Share your thoughts of the news in the comments below.