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Question of the day

Friday, Jan 25, 2013

* My Cardinals fan friends loved Stan Musial

Stan Musial already has a statue in St. Louis named after him. If state and federal lawmakers get their way, a new Mississippi River bridge also will carry the name of the St. Louis Cardinals great.

Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, and Dick Durbin, of Illinois, proposed legislation Wednesday that would name the new bridge the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge - some already are dubbing it the “Stan Span.” The bridge carrying Interstate 70 traffic is expected to open in 2014.

Musial, a three-time MVP and seven-time National League batting champion who spent all 22 seasons of his career with the Cardinals, died Saturday after several years of declining health. He was 92.

“The respect and devotion that people have for Stan Musial has more to do with his character than his swing,” McCaskill said in a phone interview. “His swing was amazing, a unique thing of beauty, but it was the man that made a lot of decisions in his life that just reflect the kind of values that we all want as Americans.”

I don’t doubt that the bridge will be named for him. And it’s Friday, so let’s lighten things up a bit.

* The Question: Who is your all-time favorite baseball player? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


38 Comments
  1. - Stones - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    Reggie Jackson. When I was growing up, I just remember Reggie as the most flamboyant player of his era. The guy just had a flare for the dramatic. His 3 home runs in the 1977 World Series sealed the deal for me.


  2. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    The Wizard, Ozzie Smith. A joy to watch during the pitching-speed-defense Cardinals of the ’80s.


  3. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    Roy Hobbs. The best player Pop Fisher ever coached and the best hitter he’d ever seen.

    Too bad he missed his tryout with the Cubs in ‘23.


  4. - Anders Lindall - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    Kirby Puckett. Turned a bleak upbringing (in the Robert Taylor Homes) and a fireplug physique (5-8, 220) into a Hall of Fame, World Series-winning career that like his short life ended far too soon. Though off-the-field troubles clouded his final years, on the diamond he was always exuberant with a dazzling smile.


  5. - Wensicia - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    It’s a tie between Ernie Banks and Ron Santo. Their love of the game was exceeded by none, in my opinion.


  6. - Irish - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    I would have to say Stan the Man folowwed closely by Ron Santo and Cal Ripkan Sr.

    As a young boy I saw Stan play twice in the old stadium, My Dad took me. He was an avid Cards fan, one of his cousins pitched in the Cards farm system and I think was brought up briefly a couple of times but didn’t stay in the bigs.

    Stan was pure class.


  7. - tubbfan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    Brooks Robinson. Talk about a guy getting everything out of his limited abilities. . .


  8. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    Roberto Clemente.

    Class personified. And pretty handy with the bat, too.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    - stones -

    He is “the straw that stirred the drink”…

    I have to go with Ryne Sandberg.

    Sandberg redefinded the 2nd Baseman, to Joe Morgan’s chagrin, and proved you can be a Gold Glover, hit for power and average, have speed on the base paths, and be as quiet as a church mouse to the press.

    And …

    Cubs- Cards, 1984 …9-8, Cardinals, bottom of the 9th …

    I remember that game against the Cards, hitting 2 home runs of the former Cub Bruce Sutter, and winning in extras. That was a heck of a ball game, and sealed it for me with Sandberg.

    Crash Davis is a close 2nd, all-time Home Run King, switch-hitting Catcher in the Minors, I think managing in the minors in Visalia, a fine minor league manager … but I digress …


  10. - Beerman - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    Roberto Clemente - #21 One of the all time greats with 3,000 hits, 1300 RBIs, 240 HR and a batting average of 317. He was a gentleman on and off the field which is rare these days in any sport.


  11. - Downstater - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    Stan Musial Class, humility, and one of the all-time greats, with Musial still in the top tier for many records. How many ball players would give back part of their pay for poor performance? Musial did.


  12. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    On the Sox, Dick Allen. He carried the South Side Hit Men in the early 70s, challenging the mighty A’s. He probably saved the Sox from moving to Seattle back then.

    He had a great career, but you wonder what he would have been if he weren’t so eccentric (the guy would hit a 450-foot homer, go back to the dugout and light up a smoke, lol). One of the best players not in the Hall of Fame.

    On the Cubs, Andre Dawson. He gave the Cubs a blank check and dared them to sign it, he wanted to come to Wrigley so bad.

    He was an MVP on a last place team, hitting 49 taters and driving in 137 runs.

    He had a cannon for an arm and still ran everything down in right, even though both knees were bone on bone (which he never complained about).

    Very quiet and respected the game, but when that old junkie Eric Show put one in his ear, he revealed himself as the most ferocious baseball fighter you ever saw. (Show was actually escorted off the field and out of the park by cops for his own safety; never saw that before).


  13. - bourbonrich - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    Nellie Fox. He was short and played second base which fit the mold I was looking for. Favorite team is the 64 Cardinals.


  14. - Chicago Bars - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    Hank Aaron & Roberto Clemente were my old school favorites, but then I read Jackie Robinson’s autobiography. #1 all time after what he went through.

    Non-HOF Chicago guy category - Minnie Minoso is a heck of a guy when you run into him around Chicago. But not in the Hall… yet.


  15. - MrJM - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Bo Jackson.

    Two sports. “Bo Knows…” Tecmo Bo. Hip replacement. Comeback. Retirement. Completed his degree in family and child development. Lives in Burr Ridge. Keeps his head down. Doesn’t embarrass himself.

    – MrJM


  16. - Third Reading - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Legendary pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige. In the late 1940s, he helped break the color barrier.

    And he broke the age barrier, too. His last appearance in the majors was in 1965 — at “about” age sixty — pitching three innings of shutout ball.

    “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” — Satchel Paige.

    www.SatchelPaige.com

    I’m outta here.


  17. - JL - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    Andre Dawson, and I cannot explain why better than wordslinger, so I will not try.

    Speaking of Musial, a reporter once asked him after he had retired from the game about his habit of enjoying a couple cocktails postgame and Stan said, “They called me a low ball hitter and a high ball drinker.” Just love that line. RIP.


  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    – at “about” age sixty — pitching three innings of shutout ball.–

    “About” is about right for Satch, lol.

    Brought to the bigs by the one-and-only Bill Veeck, who broke the color line in the American League when he signed Larry Doby to the Browns.

    Veeck never played, but he is my favorite Chicago baseball figure. Built the scoreboard and planted the ivy at Wrigley, owned the Sox, twice, including the ‘59 Pennant winners.

    Any dude who can read five books a day, drink a case of beer a day, and has an ashtray installed in his wooden leg is alright by me.


  19. - mokenavince - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    One of the greatest ball players and human beings that ever lived.A Hall of Famer if there ever was
    one. I just wish he player for the Sox.


  20. - Just Me - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    Have our standards for heroes gone so low that we are going to name a bridge, a permanent capital project, after a ball player? I have no doubt he was a nice man, but seriously? We can’t find something more meaningful?

    How about naming it after all the veterans who lost their lives defending freedom and fighting for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan (regardless of whether you agreed with the wars or not, while you were watching baseball they were in a living hell, and they aren’t able to watch baseball anymore).


  21. - Old Shepherd - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    Although I am a Cardinal fan, I will have to go with Ryne Sandberg.

    For the first twenty misguided years of my life, I was a Cub fan. To me, Ryne Sandberg was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He was a great second baseman, and seemed to be a stand up guy as well. I saved up 50 bucks when I was about twelve years old to buy his rookie card.

    A few years ago, I went to a Peoria Chiefs game and got to shake his hand and get his autograph. For a few minutes, I turned into a little boy again.


  22. - Cubfan74 - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    As a player, Charlie Hustle. I mean a guy that played nothing but heart, minimal talent and went 110% every play. He was great and any kid aspiring to succeed could take some lessons from him as a player. His ethical standards and managerial career, that’s a little different. Put him in the hall for what he did before he became a manager.


  23. - unclesam - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    Ryne Sandberg. Always hustled and gave 110%, and best attitude in baseball. (Darwin Barney and Ryan Theriot are of this mold)


  24. - larussa - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    luzinski


  25. - Down South - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    Lou Brock everyone at the ballpark knew he was going to steal the base and then he would do it. He was one of the few who Johnny Bench had problems throwing out. If he had only slud home is 68.


  26. - Anyone Remember? - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    Willie Mays. If he had been Atlanta and Henry Aaron had been in Candlestick, Willie would be the Home Run Champ and it’d be “Barry Who?” … .


  27. - John Parnell - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    Shoeless Joe Jackson. He had little education and got dragged into the Blacksox scandal He hit .375 in the World Series of 1919.


  28. - bongofurry - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    Bill (Spaceman) Lee. One of a kind.


  29. - Skeeter - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    Asking myself this question was sort of interesting. I thought of Ernie Bank because when I met him he was really a class act. But as a player he was before my time.

    When I consider other sports, no thought is really required. The names come instantly. Basketball? Jordan. Football? Walter Payton. Racing? Without a doubt Fernando Alonso. Soccer? Henry.

    But baseball seems different. I was a huge fan when I was young, now I don’t much care, but there may be more to it. There are not many Ernie Banks like players left. Some of a ton of talent but I don’t see the individual style and enthusiasm that sets them apart.


  30. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    –Have our standards for heroes gone so low that we are going to name a bridge, a permanent capital project, after a ball player? I have no doubt he was a nice man, but seriously? We can’t find something more meaningful?–

    C’mon, man, why does it have to be either/or? Stan Musial was a huge part of the lives of folks in St. Louis and the Metro East for generations.

    He was a unifying force in the culture — young or old, black or white, left or right, Stan was The Man.

    That’s something to honor and celebrate.


  31. - OldSmoky2 - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    Nice Friday baseball thread to read, with lots of good comments… Don’t know that anyone but an old White Sox fan might have ever deciphered my nick until now but it’s a nod to the first Sox player who was my favorite. When I was a kid in the mid-60s I started listening to Sox games on the radio at night. There was always a reason to stay awake until the end of the game and that reason was old No. 2, Smoky Burgess. Smoky was too old and too slow to catch much by then, but he was the best pinch-hitter in history. If it was the 8th or 9th and Sox play-by-play great Bob Elson said, “And now Burgess gets up in the dugout and picks up a bat,” it meant the Sox had a chance to come back and win. Great memories.


  32. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    Chet Lemon…

    He played center field for the White Sox, I played center field in 8 year old baseball.

    I was going to be Chet Lemon, never panned out, but still has a special place in my heart.


  33. - anon sequitor - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    EDDIE MATHEWS (Milwaukee Braves) - best third baseman ever. Couldn’t play baseball as a kid without an Eddie Mathews glove and bat. Mathews and Hank Aaron were a powerhouse for the Braves. During their years together they hit 863 home runs (Aaron 442, Mathews 421)


  34. - Stones - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    Speaking of “Stan the Man”, he missed the ‘45 season (which would have been his 3rd in the majors if I am not mistaken) because he served in the armed forces. Even though he missed a prime season, he still had over 3,630 hits in his career, a .331 lifetime BA and 475 home runs. He most certainly would have had over 500 HR and over 3,800 hits had he been available that season. Without a doubt one of the top 5 ballplayers of all time.


  35. - walkinfool - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    Mays, for sheer grace and beauty, both hitting and fielding.

    Lotta great ones, though.


  36. - Nuance - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    Lou Brock besides the excitement every time he was on base, he came from the Cubs!


  37. - Esquire - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Stan Musial was in the Navy during 1945 and the Cubs surprised the league by finishing three games ahead of St. Louis. Had Musial been available in all likelihood the Cardinals would have won five straight pennants (equalling a MLB franchise record set by the New York Yankees from 1949-1953). Musial played his entire career in St. Louis and did not receive the same amount of acclaim that he would have garnered in a larger market. But for missing 1945, Musial might also have had a legitimate shot at reaching 500 home runs (he hit 475). I am glad that a new biography of Musial was released about a year or two back.

    Choosing a favorite player is hard: I will tip my hat to an Illinois native who exceeded expectations, Rick Reuschel.


  38. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    Brutal question. Sorry for the late entry. As a boy, locally, it was Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, hands down–he was excellent and PASsionately loved to play the game, and the GAME ItSELF to this day. But my overall favorite HAD been Babe Ruth because was so dominant, not only as a Hitter, obviously, but as an Ace Pitcher as well early-on in his career (how many Baseball Pros can claim THAT ability–a handful maybe at best…(and yet Hank Aaron is QUITE “The Man,” as a class Gentleman and the TRUE Home Run King). But, all in all, my All-Time Favorite is Lou Gehrig. You really almost have to believe that the Almighty Maker creAted him to play the game, and at the highest level possible, until and ONLY until the dreaded, fatal Disease (to this day, of course), tragically, to be popularized by his own name, would steal this genuine, ulta-talented Star “Diamond in the Rough” FROM the Diamond for the Ages. And, connected to the esteemed Baseball life of a Player who only ever KNEW to ALways give it his very Best in order to BE the Best, it appears as if the Maker expects US, who remain, to show and prove OUR very best, still over 70 years later–and despite living in the midst of this phenomenal Scientific age of medical research–to find a cure to this scourge…


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