Created on: September 16, 2009 Last Updated: January 21, 2013
Long considered to be one of Major League Baseball's greatest hitters, Stan Musial was born November 21, 1920 in Donora, Pennsylvania, the son of Lukasz Musial, a Polish immigrant. His mother, Mary, was the daughter of Czech immigrants. On his 19th birthday, he married Lillian Labash, with whom he had four children.
Musial, who earned the nickname "Stan the Man," played his entire 22-year major league career for the St. Louis Cardinals. Although he is known primarily for his accomplishments as a hitter, Musial began his professional career in 1938 as a pitcher in the Cardinals' farm system. The following year, he switched positions, moving to the outfield to replace an injured player, moving to that position in 1940. He languished in the minors until 1941 when he began his meteoric rise.
Following spring training in 1941, Musial was promoted to the Cardinals' Class C farm team in Springfield, Missouri, where he hit 26 home runs and batted .379 in 87 games. Those feats earned him a promotion to Class B baseball n Rochester, New York, where he hit .326 in 54 games. Thanks to his hitting prowess, Musial was called up to the parent club, debuting September 17, 1941, where he batted .426 in 12 games.
During the 1942 season, Musial led a group of young, inexperienced players through surprise after surprise, capturing the National League pennant by winning 106 games, including 43 of their last 52. To top it off, the Cardinals won the World Series in five games over the heavily favored New York Yankees.
Like many major league baseball players of his era, Musial spent time in the armed forces during World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy as a seaman first class from January 1945 to March 1946, thus missing all of the 1945 season. Upon his return to major league baseball in 1946, he continued his meteoric feats, leading the Cardinals to a return trip to the World Series as well as being named the Sporting News Player of the Year, an honor which he would repeat in 1951. The publication also named him Sportsman of the Decade for the years 1946 to 1956.
By the time he played his final game for the Cardinals on September 29, 1963, the left-handed Musial had amassed an amazing string of offensive records that, to this day, make him one of the most outstanding major league hitters of all time. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 6 after his final game. Upon his retirement, he held 17 Major League records, as well as 29 National League and nine All-Star game records. During the 1948 season, he led the National League in nine offensive categories, and led the National League in hitting seven times, and in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and hits six times each. In addition, he won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1943, 1946 and 1957. His career totals included 3,630 hits, including two in his last game, 475 home runs, 1,951 RBIs and a .331 batting average.
When asked about his hitting ability, Musial once said, "I consciously memorized the speed at which every pitcher in the league threw his fastball, curve and slider; then, I'd pick up the speed of the ball in the first thirty feet of its flight and knew how it would move once it had crossed the plate."
A statue of Musial erected outside of Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 1968 was inscribed, "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight." Musial was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1969 in his first year of eligibility, getting the nod on 319 of 340 ballots.
Learn more about this author, Arlene Miles.
Click here to send this author comments or questions.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
Biography: Stan Musial
No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today....He
by Arlene Miles
Long considered to be one of Major League Baseball's greatest hitters, Stan Musial was born November 21, 1920 in Donora,
by Leroy Coffie
Stan “The Man” Musial
St. Louis Cardinal Great
Heroes Of Baseball
Stan Musial is arguably the greatest St.
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.