The first thing I want to point out here is that I think it was quite embarrassing that Stan Musial did not receive more attention during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis. I was waiting for Musial to be honored in a way that Ted Williams was in Boston in 1999. It was a chance for the St. Louis Cardinals to show the world one of the best, yet somewhat underrated players of all-time. If you want to argue with that, then please explain why Stan wasn’t voted onto the All-Century team by the fans in 1999. Bud Selig had to add Stan Musial to the team, which had to be an embarrassing moment for Cardinals fans, Selig and Stan I’m sure. I didn’t feel like the spotlight was on Musial anywhere close to long enough before he handed the ball off to President Barack Obama at the All-Star Game in ’09, and the lack of attention given to Stan on that night was the biggest embarrassment I’ve felt as a Cardinals fan.
I was taping the game, thinking I would have about 20 minutes or more of treasured history. The Cardinals would finally wake the world up to what was one of the greatest players of all-time. All the young baseball fans that have only heard of legends such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, and many others would finally realize there was another guy in the same class as them, even ahead of a lot of them, Stan Musial. Busch Stadium was filled to capacity, the world was watching, and yet no players from either the NL or AL surrounded Stan’s golf cart and embraced “The Man” the way Ted Williams was at the All-Star Game in Boston in 1999. As Bernie Miklasz pointed out in this article, the only person who really seemed to understand the significance of what was happening was Joe Torre.
I could continue to bitch about this, but if you read Bernie’s article, he says most of what I felt that night. If the President wouldn’t have been there, maybe it would have been different, but the point is, MLB screwed it up. It should have been Stan’s night, the world should have known how great he was. It should have had every fan in America running to Stan’s baseball-reference.com page to check out his stats.
I think the main thing that keeps Musial out of the conversations of the greatest players of all-time like the other HOF members I mentioned is the fact that he didn’t play for the Yankees or Red Sox, and that he fell 25 homers short of 500. Stan had 3,630 hits, but hey, chicks dig the long ball. If Stan Musial wouldn’t have served his country proudly in the Navy in 1945, 500 home runs would have probably been a lock, and just maybe, he wouldn’t be as looked over as he is.
So, I’m happy for Stan getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I’m glad the Cardinals promoted the “Stand for Stan” and got the ball rolling for one of the 10 greatest players of all-time. The only other MLB players to receive the award are Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Joe Dimaggio, Buck O’Neil, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, and Ted Williams. At least Stan Musial is not going to receive the award posthumously, something finally being done right to honor “The Man”.