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5 Reasons We Love Stan the Man

Photograph courtesy of Triumph Books

For a certain generation of Cardinals fans, Stan Musial is synonymous with the oddly proportioned statue outside Busch Stadium. But in the recently published Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial, author Wayne Stewart makes it abundantly clear how the Man earned his nickname. “That blend of being a superstar—one of the top 10—and being a really great, down-to-earth guy is extremely rare,” says Stewart.

1. Musial once teased Ken Griffey Jr. about being the second-best left-handed outfielder born in Donora, Penn., on November 21.

2. Wearing overalls and playing his harmonica with fervor, Musial made a memorable appearance on the TV show Hee Haw.

3. Hank Aaron claims Musial said “They don’t pay us to play overtime,” before hitting a homer to win the 1955 All-Star Game.

4. Playing first base, Musial would congratulate opposing players on their first big-league hits.

5. Heeding friend John Wayne’s advice, Musial gave fans signed cards while in public to avoid signing flimsy napkins.

Note: This version of the story includes a correction to note Musial hit the winning home run during the 1955 All-Star Game, rather than the 1950 one. As Stewart notes on p. 145 of his book, Red Schoendienst hit the first-ever extra-innings homer during the 1950 All-Star Game. Coincidentally, Schoendienst and Musial were at one time roommates.

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