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  1. #1
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    November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    One of baseball's really great hitters. If he had played with the Yankees back in the 1940s and 1950s, he would, today, be up there in baseball mythology with Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, and Mantle.

  2. #2
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    I have November 21 marked on my calendar as Donora Day. Stan Musial and Ken Griffey, Jr., were both born on that date in Donora, PA.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by Bauer View Post
    One of baseball's really great hitters. If he had played with the Yankees back in the 1940s and 1950s, he would, today, be up there in baseball mythology with Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, and Mantle.
    I always thought Stan The Man was thought that way.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by ymike673 View Post
    I always thought Stan The Man was thought that way.
    My impression is--and there have been a variety of articles on this--that Stan is sort of forgotten. Didn't hit .400, didn't have a 56-game streak (33 was his longest I think), wasn't flamboyant, etc. He just hit the hell out baseballs and was a soft-spoken family guy, playing in the heartland when the action was usually on the (one) coast.

    I loved watching him at bat. Actually, in Philadelphia, where crowds can be rough on visitors, it began when he entered the on-deck circle. The crowd began to buzz, "There's Stan the Man." He was always treated respectfully in Philly, even when he lined triples off the right field fence in Shibe Park

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by Bauer View Post
    My impression is--and there have been a variety of articles on this--that Stan is sort of forgotten. Didn't hit .400, didn't have a 56-game streak (33 was his longest I think), wasn't flamboyant, etc. He just hit the hell out baseballs and was a soft-spoken family guy, playing in the heartland when the action was usually on the (one) coast.

    I loved watching him at bat. Actually, in Philadelphia, where crowds can be rough on visitors, it began when he entered the on-deck circle. The crowd began to buzz, "There's Stan the Man." He was always treated respectfully in Philly, even when he lined triples off the right field fence in Shibe Park
    Just a little before my time but I have read how he would terrorize the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. But he was respected by the Brooklyn fans.

  6. #6
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ymike673 View Post
    Just a little before my time but I have read how he would terrorize the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. But he was respected by the Brooklyn fans.
    My understanding is that Musial was a genuinely good, humble, decent person who no one disliked. Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew has similar reps, but Musial was a far greater player.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    What probably hurts Stan a little is after 1949 the Cardinals as a team were pretty mediocre until 1963. Which was Stan's last season.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by ymike673 View Post
    What probably hurts Stan a little is after 1949 the Cardinals as a team were pretty mediocre until 1963. Which was Stan's last season.
    I think that's true, but in those days St. Louis--good team or mediocre--was far from the press action. Whereas Williams had a terrific personal flair about him, even in years the Sox were not particularly troublesom (as during much of Stengel's post-1949 years, when Cleveland and Chicago were usually the competition), Musial, on the other hand, was quiet and soft-spoken.

    Of course, he had one great and charismatic feature: that coiled-up stance was wonderfully ominous.

    I grew up following two guys' careers very closely, Mantle's and Musial's. Part of the Bob Costas eulogy for Musial deals also with Mantle (the full video of the eulogy seems unavailable). The abbreviated video is worth the five minutes it takes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKM9Bn1aorc

  9. #9
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bauer View Post
    I think that's true, but in those days St. Louis--good team or mediocre--was far from the press action. Whereas Williams had a terrific personal flair about him, even in years the Sox were not particularly troublesom (as during much of Stengel's post-1949 years, when Cleveland and Chicago were usually the competition), Musial, on the other hand, was quiet and soft-spoken.

    Of course, he had one great and charismatic feature: that coiled-up stance was wonderfully ominous.

    I grew up following two guys' careers very closely, Mantle's and Musial's. Part of the Bob Costas eulogy for Musial deals also with Mantle (the full video of the eulogy seems unavailable). The abbreviated video is worth the five minutes it takes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKM9Bn1aorc
    He was far from the East coast papers, but I donít think they dominated media coverage. For many decades, there were no teams south or west of St. Louis, and the Cards' flagship radio station, KMOX, had a powerful signal. So if you lived in Alabama, Texas, or Colorado (or if you were Mickey Mantle, in Commerce, OK), you were probably a Cardinals fan. So while he might have been far from the printing press, millions of people followed Musial's exploits every night.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by JL25and3 View Post
    He was far from the East coast papers, but I donít think they dominated media coverage. For many decades, there were no teams south or west of St. Louis, and the Cards' flagship radio station, KMOX, had a powerful signal. So if you lived in Alabama, Texas, or Colorado (or if you were Mickey Mantle, in Commerce, OK), you were probably a Cardinals fan. So while he might have been far from the printing press, millions of people followed Musial's exploits every night.
    I agree entirely, and, indeed, I heard Mantle interviewed once where he spoke of listening to Musial and the Cards. My point is that the New York papers were where mythologies were spawned, the great stories about the super-players and managers. And this becomes most noticeable after the careers are over, so that Mantle's name and that of Willie Mays or Snider or Yogi (just from that era) remained vital presences across the country in a way that Musial did not. Very big he is in his area, but I think often.... Well, not forgotten but somehow remembered in a lesser manner than his numbers justified.

    Put another way: I wonder if a Dimag who played for Pittsburgh would have had the aura of the Dimag who played in Center Field in the old Stadium. Well, none of it can be demonstrated, and I'm glad to see that the Cards will be holding a nice centenary for Stan the Man.

    Of course, Bob Broeg, who wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, did a lot for Musial in the way of celebrating his exploits, including disseminating that Brooklyn honorific of "The Man."

    I once read that President Eisenhower wrote a Happy Birthday letter to Honus Wagner, when the Dutchman turned 80. In the letter he recalled how, as a boy, he couldn't wait for the paper to arrive so he could check on how Wagner had done the night before. I feel that way about Musial and Mantle. Every morning in the 50s I made a bee line for the Yankees' box score and the Cards'.

  11. #11

    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Stan is really that 2nd tier player. He isn't Ruth or Ted Williams or Ty Cobb. He didn't play on a consistent winner. He also wasn't as good as Gehrig, Mantle, or DiMaggio. He just played longer. Would the NYC media ignored that and pumped him up if he was part of that lineage? Maybe but that next tier of players in general isn't remembered as much as the top tier.

    Not to take anything away from him, he had an amazing career and was great for a long time which is a great accomplishment but to me it is kind of looking at Ruth vs Aaron. Again, Aaron is great, but I don't think anyone would argue he is better than Ruth.

  12. #12
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sd. View Post
    Stan is really that 2nd tier player. He isn't Ruth or Ted Williams or Ty Cobb. He didn't play on a consistent winner. He also wasn't as good as Gehrig, Mantle, or DiMaggio. He just played longer. Would the NYC media ignored that and pumped him up if he was part of that lineage? Maybe but that next tier of players in general isn't remembered as much as the top tier.

    Not to take anything away from him, he had an amazing career and was great for a long time which is a great accomplishment but to me it is kind of looking at Ruth vs Aaron. Again, Aaron is great, but I don't think anyone would argue he is better than Ruth.
    I donít think Dimaggio was better than Musial. Dimaggio provided more defensive value, obviously, but Musial was a better hitter. For whatever stock you put in WAR as a measure of overall value, Musial comes out ahead in peak value as well as career value.

    So itís not the case that "he just played longer." Even if that were true, Musial's durability isnít an insignificant advantage. Also, while the last 5 years of Musial's career boosted all his counting stats (3630 is one of those numbers Iíve known since I was a kid), his rate stats suffered.

    If there are really only five first tier players, maybe he misses the cut, but not because Dimaggio was better. Maybe fans today donít know his name as well, but thats more likely because those fans donít know enough. I think his memory also suffers because there arenít really any good Musial stories. He wasnít larger than life like Ruth, or a mean SOB like Cobb, or quotable like Yogi. He didnít get drunk and pick up women at the Copa. He was just a nice, decent, stable guy who played baseball exceptionally well.

  13. #13
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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    This is true. I know Stan was a great ballplayer but other then stories of his feats at Ebbets Field don't remember reading much else about him. Seems like a quiet guy who basically just did his job. Of course at a very high level. As far as better than Joe D. Hard to tell. Joe was really hurt by playing at Yankee Stadium. Playing in a park with normal LF dimensions Joe might have broke Ruth's single season HR record.

  14. #14

    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by JL25and3 View Post
    I donít think Dimaggio was better than Musial. Dimaggio provided more defensive value, obviously, but Musial was a better hitter. For whatever stock you put in WAR as a measure of overall value, Musial comes out ahead in peak value as well as career value.

    So itís not the case that "he just played longer." Even if that were true, Musial's durability isnít an insignificant advantage. Also, while the last 5 years of Musial's career boosted all his counting stats (3630 is one of those numbers Iíve known since I was a kid), his rate stats suffered.
    You could make the argument he DiMaggio because of his health and longevity but I'm not sure. Yeah he was the better hitter, but at 1B/CO and not CF. Overall I'd rather have Joe's production in CF than Stan's. On a rate basis, their best seasons were similar but Stan was more healthy. And of course Joe missed his prime due to the war.

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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by sd. View Post
    You could make the argument he DiMaggio because of his health and longevity but I'm not sure. Yeah he was the better hitter, but at 1B/CO and not CF. Overall I'd rather have Joe's production in CF than Stan's. On a rate basis, their best seasons were similar but Stan was more healthy. And of course Joe missed his prime due to the war.
    Yes, Stan missed his age 24 year to the war.
    Joe missed his ages 28, 29 & 30 to the war.
    He finally met himself, coming down an up-staircase, and the encounter was crushing.

  16. #16
    Tends to be difficult JL25and3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sd. View Post
    You could make the argument he DiMaggio because of his health and longevity but I'm not sure. Yeah he was the better hitter, but at 1B/CO and not CF. Overall I'd rather have Joe's production in CF than Stan's. On a rate basis, their best seasons were similar but Stan was more healthy. And of course Joe missed his prime due to the war.
    I didnít say Musial was better, I objected to the flat statement "Dimaggio was better." Joe lost a chunk of his prime To the war, but he was also done at age 36, where Musial kept going to age 42. Compare their rate stats through age 36, and Musial is well ahead, except in SA. OPS+ has park adjustments, and WAR has positional adjustments (though I have questions about the value of using dWAR in eras before we had the data we have now.) Musial's OPS+ through age 36 is quite a bit higher than DiMaggioís.

    I donít think a clear case can be made ne way or the other.

  17. #17

    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    Quote Originally Posted by JL25and3 View Post
    Compare their rate stats through age 36, and Musial is well ahead, except in SA. OPS+ has park adjustments, and WAR has positional adjustments (though I have questions about the value of using dWAR in eras before we had the data we have now.) Musial's OPS+ through age 36 is quite a bit higher than DiMaggioís.
    I looked at their numbers and there is really no fair way to compare them. Your way, Joe loses his prime but Stan doesn't.

    The closest I can come up with is comparing their age 21-27 season on a rate basis of that time. On a rate basis Joe was clearly better but Stan played about 10 games more a year. Stan's OPS+ looks better though however that includes playing 2 season where Joe wasn't playing because he and a lot of other players were over seas for the war. I'm not sure how much that impacts the numbers of average.

    If I try to take out those 2 years now you are down to only 3 years. Age 25-27. How much does that tell you? In those 3 years, Joe was better, Stan played more games. But those 3 years just happen to be 2 out of Stans' 3 MVP years.

    After that, Joe loses his prime years.

    After that Joe is coming back to play from a 3 year lay off. Joe retires early, Stan crushes him on longevity but over those years it looks like more of the same. Joe feels like the better player but Stan plays more.

  18. #18
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    Re: November 21: Stan Musial Centenary

    One of the greatest to play the game. I wonder if there had been a DH in the National League when he played would his stats been even more impressive. He still was in great shape when he retired. Also, playing in St. Louis didnít give him the national recognition if he had played on the east coast. Class act as a player on and off the field!👍👍

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