Saturday, January 19, 2013

The last Box-Score of Stan the Man Musial...(c) ByJerry Pritikin

Although I am best known as a Cubs Fan... I always respected the great players from the Visiting teams. I have seen quite a few as rookies and also many veterans who wound up at Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame. Probably my favorite all time National Leaguer was Stan Musial. Tonight came the word that he had passes away. He had an unusual batting stance and once in an interview I described him as looking like a Rodan Statue when he was in the batters box. A cork screw like swing, and seldom striking out. I never heard a Cubs fan boo him, in fact he always received a great hand when ever he came to the batter's box. Most of the times I only got to see him in the Cardinal's gray traveling uniform whenever he played in Wrigley Field, and that was quite often. My dad would always give my Brother Allen and me enough money to the first game of a series... then after that game we would help clean the grandstands and earn a free ticket to the next game. We considered ourselves lucky when the Cubs and Cardinals played in a double header. Since the Cubs did not play night games, Allen and I would listen to the Cardinal games on the radio... it was always filled with static. Their announcers were Harry Caray and Gabby Street and the Call letters were KMOX. The beer sponsor was a local brewery with an unusual name... and it was not Busch! When we were able to see the Cubs Cardinals games on TV, it was in black & white because color TV was years away. I have to admit I always thought the Cardinal's home uniform was the best in the National League. Once in a while I got to see them wearing their home White uniform with the Red Birds on a bat when Sport Magazine had Musial, or some other Card great on the Cover.

There are a few facts I recall about Musial, like he had the same amount of hits on the road as he did at Sportsmans Park and later Bush Stadium. (1,815) and the unusual trivia question that asked "What did Cardinal ballplayer Pete Whisenant do that no other Cardinal player did? He actually pinched hit for Musial twice! I was lucky to see him interviewd by Jack Brickhouse often, and once in a while he played is harmomica,too.  I also recal the year that Cubs outfielder Frankie Baumholtz and Musial were battling out for the Batting Championship... and both teams were out of the pennant chase and on the final day of the season both players were starting pitchers, and pitched to each other. Musial won out,but the fans of both teams enjoyed the extra added attraction.

I remembered reading a great artical in Look Magazine in 1963 that said that Musial was retiring, and I took the time to write a letter to their editor and the printed it... see attachment. I was 27 when I wrote that letter. The following year I was mad when the Cardinals won the pennant because Stan Musial was not on the team. Yesterday I hit 76, and that's not homers... and Stan the Man from Denora Pa. is now playing in the Heavenly Confines for all times... Thanks Stan, you always were #1 with me and all baseball fans who appreciated Good Sportsmanship on and off the field.

Jerry Pritikin  aka The Bleacher Preacher

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