Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Stan Musial

I Never Got to See Stan

The more I learned about the Cardinals as I was growing up, the more I realized that there were 3 players that I never really got to see play, but desperately wanted to:

  1. Bob Gibson was first in my mind. I read the book From Ghetto to Glory for a book report in junior high, and I was hooked on this almost mythological man that pitched on a broken leg and struck out 18 in a World Series game and would knock his grandmother on her ear if she dug in too much on him in the batter’s box. I asked my dad about watching Gibby pitch and if he really was that mean and if he had ever seen a more awesome pitcher.
  2. Ozzie Smith was second. I really started focusing in on players and teams around the time Ozzie retired. I saw a few of his last games on TV, and I know I was at the stadium a handful of times when he was still diving across the turf and back-flipping on to the field, but I don’t remember it. I don’t remember him. Considering the shortstops the Cardinals have gone through in the last few years, even though there have been a few dazzling plays, I know it doesn’t compare.
  3. I never saw Stan Musial. Like most of America, it took me awhile to really see how great “the Man” was during his career. I feel like I really didn’t figure it out until I was in college. I had heard of Stan, but I didn’t understand why he was so great.


A perfect knight. The words make you think regal and showy and other such adjectives. Stan was none of those things. He was humble, happy, loyal, a gentleman to the core, and the nicest man you ever got to meet.

I never got to see Stan. He retired long before my parents even met. I never lived in St. Louis to just see him out and about. I never went to his restaurant and had a chance siting of him wandering around glad-handing the customers. I never got to see him drive around the warning track in a golf cart. I didn’t get to be at the stadium to Stand for Stan. I never went to Opening Day and saw him shake Tony’s hand. I never heard him play his harmonica. I wasn’t at the All-Star game in St. Louis when he got his triumphal entry that FOX didn’t even feel the need to really show on live television, and I wanted to throw things at the TV because of it.

I guess I thought I would someday. I live just 3 hours from the stadium now. I’m making plans to go to Opening Day.

I guess I thought there was still time.

I found out about Stan’s passing when I was on vacation this past weekend. In the midst of our relaxing weekend away, my husband and I sat in silence for a little while when we heard the news. I texted my parents, who hadn’t heard the news. We didn’t really have the words to describe what we were thinking. We debated on detouring through St. Louis on our way home from our trip, but it didn’t happen. We both felt drawn to the stadium, like it was calling us to come pay our respects.

I never got to see Stan, but I will never forget him.

Still Standing For Stan

Stand for Stan Day in 2010 (from Cadence)

Whenever we receive emails from the Cardinals beginning with the word “Bloggers,” it usually means we are being asked to do something. I’m not complaining, even if they are using me/us for free PR. This kind of PR is definitely worthy of a mention though.

Last year the Cardinals put on a “Stand for Stan” campaign to help Stan Musial receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive. Towards the end of the 2010 season, the Cardinals even held a “Stand for Stan” day at the ballpark, and Cadence and Courtney were there to talk about it.

This year the Cardinals are taking on a mini-version of that tremendous effort. Leading up to the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball is having a vote of the greatest all-time All-Star moments. Now, Stan Musial himself had a walk-off winning home run in the 1955 All-Star game, and his home run has made it to the Final Four. The voting can be found here, and each email address can vote 25 times, just like for All-Star balloting.

Seeing as how the fans embarrassingly left Musial off the All-Century team in 1999, something that commissioner Bud Selig admitted was a huge oversight, this is a chance to help shed a little more light on an incredible player that has been largely overlooked by many. Head over to the vote and help Stan get a little more recognition!

Kid In A Candy Store

I know that there are about three of you out there that have been waiting for this post, but I hope the rest of you enjoy it as well…

This past weekend was the first Midwest Baseball Writer’s Conference, held at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri. I know, a long trip for me, but worth every second. I got to leave the snow of Wisconsin, enjoy a few days of sunshine in Missouri, see a truckload of sports history, and talk baseball for an entire day? WIN.
For those of you (I’m assuming most of you) that have never been able to check out the Hall of Fame before, I snapped some pics on my dumbphone (that would be a non-smartphone) for your enjoyment.
Stan’s corner, complete with a TV showing his enshrinement
into the hall (he played his harmonica!)
Main Cards section, including lots of momentos from the
2006 World Series
I know that I could have spent several more hours reading all of the various plaques that were in the upstairs of the museum. Some of my favorites included…
Branch Rickey
Rogers Hornsby
Jack Buck
Stan Musial (of course)
Of course, I checked out all the sports fun and games. For the record, I am horrible at the football throw, but think I could take most of you at shooting free throws. An interesting one was the simulation where you could watch a major league pitch. The Cardinal player you could pick was Darryl Kile, so of course I had to see what his 12-to-6 curveball would look like coming in to me at the plate. It’s definitely worth the trip to see the history, but the little kid in me couldn’t walk away from the games either!
Of course, if you go to a conference, you should actually talk about the presenters, right? Up first on the day was John Lofflin, a journalism professor at Park University in Parkville, MO (and writer over at i70 Baseball). John’s section was labeled “Interlopers in Eden: Sports Writers, Gamblers, Gurus and Women.” He talked on many different baseball books, what the author’s intent was, the thought process that readers go through as they journey through the stories, and how the different ‘villains’ (for lack of a better term) were portrayed. I had to laugh at the inclusion of women in the title, considering I was the only one there! Matt Kelsy made a good point in the discussion when he stated the following:

These stories aren’t about baseball. They’re about life. They just use baseball to tell the story.

I couldn’t agree more. One of the best things about this conference was the discussion feel of it. We weren’t there to be lectured at, but to be chatting about the game we all obviously loved.

Roger Erickson was up next. Roger is the head of the Kansas City chapter of SABR, that is, the Society for American Baseball Research. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what all SABR had their little hands in, but in reality it is quite a lot. People point to them as the creators of more advanced sabermetrics such as WAR, WHIP, and many other statistics that we’ve just accepted into our mainstream baseball vocabulary. I got a good laugh when the first thing he stood up and said was, “The first thing I want you to know about us is that we are not all baseball nerds.” I looked around the room… do you really think any person in there listening to him was not a baseball nerd? Nice.
Steve Sommer from Gashouse Graphs was last up on the agenda, and my math background had a major geek-out during this one. Steve and Erik run an amazing site using all kinds of advanced statistical analysis to do anything from predict trends in current players (like this post on Motte’s fastball velocity) and do things like this post on Jim Edmonds where they prove that he is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Steve actually sat down and explain in broad terms how WAR is calculated, which I was happy about. It seemed like this mystical number that people came up with, and in reality… umm… it kind of is. Okay, take it back, there is a method to it, but there’s still a lot of room for interpretation too. Obviously not an exact science, but there is some reasoning, so I feel better.
Long story short, y’all should have been there. I think that we all walked away learning a little more, enjoying some great history in the museum, and, if nothing else, getting to enjoy a day of talking about baseball, both past and present. I’ll let Jack Buck tell you how I felt about this day…
Yes it is Jack… yes it is.
Oh, this is what happens when I’m left unsupervised with baseball history all around me.
You know, in case you were wondering…

Stories of the Year – UCB Style!

*brushes away the cobwebs again* Hey… remember me? I work here, sometimes.*

Sometimes the holidays take up a truckload of time and you have to scramble at the last minute to finish getting something together so Daniel** doesn’t come after you for not putting something together when you said you would for a UCB party. Well, better late than never. Actually, I don’t think we’re late since this will be posted before the new year. Win for us!

So here’s our top five Cardinal stories of the year, but instead of waxing nostalgic, we’re going to give you some older posts to bring back the warm fuzzy memories of baseball season. Okay, some of these are a little less than warm and fuzzy, but it’s baseball, so why are you complaining?

Our Top Five:
1) Stan the Man winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom – The Cardinals made a big push for the President to award Stan Musial the highest honor a civilian can earn, and Cardinal fans embraced it whole-heartedly. Jacqueline once met Stan, and Cadence got to be there when Stan was honored at the end of the season at “Stand for Stan Day.
2) The Brawl in Cincy – Like this wasn’t going to make our list? It was a crazy three game set with the Reds, which we were worked up about for weeks! The gut check reaction was probably my favorite, so look back with this piece called: Words? Meet Actions.

3) Great pitching – The Cardinals could not have gone as far as they did without stellar pitching this year. The two we’re choosing to highlight are Adam Wainwright’s 20 wins and Jamie Garcia’s excellent rookie season.

4) Whitey elected to Hall of Fame – Okay, I’ll be honest. We did not cover this very well at all. However, watching the Hall of Fame ceremony and seeing his acceptance speech was phenomenal. My favorite line? Being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame… is like going to heaven before you die.” We apologize for glazing over it with this picture of the day. Are we forgiven?

5) Uninspiring play-uninspiring season – Well this is a downer to end with. We’re going to point you back to our first “Girl Talk” piece, where we answer the question, “What was the most frustrating part about this year’s team?”

2010 is over. Years from now, we might not really remember much about this season, but we here at the CDD have enjoyed our first year blogging and getting to know so many of you. Here’s to a new year and a new season to look forward to. Go Cards!!!!!

*Apparently I work too much over at i70 Baseball. If you haven’t been reading my off-season history stuff you can check out the archive here. Okay, end shameless plug.
**Daniel will not come after us. I went on the radio with him Wednesday night. I bought time with that one… I think. 😉

Stand For Stan Day (good-bye 2010)

Courtney and I with our Flat Stan’s.  10.2.10

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 was “Stand For Stan” Day at Busch Stadium. Having decided a few weeks ago that Courtney and I needed to go to one last game for the 2010 season, we thought going to Stand For Stan Day would be the best idea. We know that everyone was able to see the awesome ceremony on TV during the middle of the 6th inning, but being there was an unbelievable experience. I have seen several other tributes to Stan Musial throughout the years, but this was the first one I have been to that was all about The Man. As the top of the sixth inning came to an end, John Ulett announced that it was time to stand as Stan Musial was about to make his way around the warning track. The music – like from the triumphant climax of your favorite sports movie – began to play and I grabbed my camera and handed Courtney one of our Flat Stan the Man’s. We stood to join the rest of the crowd in waving them and cheering as The Man entered from the right field corner. I noticed right off that all of the guys in both the Cardinal’s and Rockies dugout were all standing out in front of it; our guys with their own Flat Stan’s and some of the Rockies had them too! Then Courtney directed my attention to the bullpen. All of the guys in the bullpen were standing on the fence on their tippy-toes waving their Flat Stan’s at Stan Musial as he rounded the warning track. I almost cried. It was the cutest thing I think I had ever seen, and knowing how much personality some of the guys in the bullpen have, it was almost like they were all little kids again. I am starting to tear up thinking about it now. Stan continued to round the outfield and each section roared with cheers as he passed. Once Stan got to the Cardinal Dugout, he shook hands with every single player, and several people around us all said at the same time “Oh, look! There’s Red!” as he shook hands with Mr. Schoendienst. We couldn’t help but hope it would last longer. No words were spoken, no speeches were made, no pause in the action – just a tribute to the greatest Cardinal to ever wear the uniform, and it was perfect.

The bullpen wave their Flat Stan’s at Stan Musial.

The St. Louis Cardinals Organization has been campaigning all season to convince President Barack Obama that Stan “The Man” Musial should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor. 

The organization has done a fantastic job with this campaign. The Flat Stan The Man picture that every member of Cardinal Nation could print off their computers, take with them wherever they went this summer and then post pictures on the Cardinal’s website was pure genius. I surely hope that their efforts were not in vein. Stan Musial most certainly deserves this honor as his character is not only a true representation of the Cardinal’s organization but also as a stand-up human being.

Stan finishes up his trip around
the stadium.

Throughout the game, everything had to do with Stan “The Man”; the word puzzle of the day, the vision test, the highlight videos of poignant moments in his career on the scoreboard between every half-inning. And while this was obviously the main attraction, the Cardinals also paid tribute to Ernie Hays, retiring organist, throughout the game and Jay Randolph before the game. If you think about it, kind of bittersweet considering the season we just went through. But, like anything else, the Cardinal’s did a great job in recognizing those two as well. While Jay may not have always got everything right this year, he had an amazing career and I respect the job he did. As for Ernie Hays – one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Courtney and I met him on the metrolink after a game a few years back and he was the sweetest man. He let us bug him about his job and explained to us how very few organists are left in major league ballparks. I surely hope that whoever fills Ernie’s bench next year will be able to live up to his standards. We will miss you, Ernie!

The walk-off “beating” of Matt Holliday

To wrap it up, the Cardinals ended their season on a 5 game winning streak and winning 7 of their last 8. It is frustrating (the word of the season apparently) at the same time to see the team win 5 in a row after a dismal season, but I will take it and move forward. Thankfully, Courtney and I were able to end our season on a high note; a walk-off 1-0 win in the 11th inning on a base hit by Matt Holliday and an infield beating by his teammates. One of my favorite things to see – and Courtney and I have seen a couple of those this year. While we looked back and asked each other “where was that the last couple months?”, we know that we have so much to look forward to next year. Though the majority of the starters in the last 3 games were playing in Memphis most of the year, I am very pleased with how this team finished. The 2011 Cardinals may look different, but one thing is sure; we will love them no matter what.

The 2010 season is over, and I am proud of the Cardinals for not giving up completely. Welcome to the offseason, friends…its gonna be a long winter. We have each other to make it through. 
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