Baseball Loses Two Legends
I grew up a baseball fan. I've always been a numbers geek and baseball has always lent itself to people like me. So not only did I follow the players of the day but I loved the history of the game. Saturday was a sad day for me and my baseball people as two legendary figures passed away. One of the greatest players ever, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Stan Musial passed away at 92. And one of the best managers of my youth, Baltimore Orioles skipper Earl Weaver died at 82.
"The Man". For baseball fans, you didn't need to hear anything more than those two words to know someone was talking about Stan Musial. I never got the chance to see Musial play. He retired when I was two months old. But as I started reading about the history of the game, reading statistics from so many of the all-time greats, talking to older generations about the best players THEY ever saw, Stan Musial inevitably came up as one of the all-time greats of the game.
Just to give you some of the highlights of Musial's career: he played 22 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning three MVP awards, seven batting titles he hit .331 for his career), hit 475 home runs and drove in 1,975 runs. He will always be THE player you think of with the storied Cardinals franchise, and as a person, so 'clean' so well-liked, that the lack of controversy almost makes people forget what a legend he was.
Earl Weaver managed the Baltimore Orioles during my prime baseball loving years. He was there from 1968-1982 and 1985-1986, all with the Orioles. He won four American League pennants and the World Series in 1970. And he seemingly beat my Minnesota Twins 95% of the time. Earl loved the long ball too. His managing philosophy was 'pitching, defense, and the three run homer'. He was also a hot head. I can still see Weaver come screaming out of the dugout to go toe-to-toe with an umpire. He'd turn his cap around backwards seemingly so he could get his face just that much closer to the ump. Then he'd back up, still yelling and flailing his arms while he'd repeatedly kick dirt on the umpire. He was kicked out of games 91 times in his Hall of Fame career (98 by some counts. I looked it up) But he was a winner and so respected by his players AND his opponents.
Rest in Peace.