The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals Yearbook dedicated about 150 of its 250 pages to Stan Musial. I’m reading through it and will pass on some noteworthy items in this blog and in a future blog, but one thing is clear: this Man was truly incredible. I knew, of course, how great he was, but reading through the yearbook still resulted in my coming across amazing facts and figures.
At one point Stan was tied for the third fastest time going down the line home to first throughout the entire Major Leagues. He was clocked at 3.4 second–only Mickey Mantle (3.1) and Bobby Thomson (3.3) were faster (around 1953).
In 1958, he was so hot to start the season he wound up hitting a sizzling .528 for the entire month of April.
In 1943, he went 34 straight games without striking out once. That year he struck out 18 times over his 700 total plate appearances. Today some players K that many times in two weeks or so–when Mark Reynolds set the record for the most times striking out in a season, 223, he averaged close to 1 1/2 strikeouts per game!
Stan may not have considered himself a big power hitter, but he did swat 475 HR and tons of extra base hits yet he still managed to make great contact, so he didn’t whiff a lot. In fact, not counting his final two seasons when he was up there in age baseball-wise, he never struck out more than 40 times in a season. Even in his last two years his K totals were 46 and 43.
Trick question: who wore jersey #6 for the Cards in 1945? Answer below.
About the only weakness among all his glittering stats is this: the “Donora Greyhound” wasn’t much of a base stealer despite his speed. The most bases he stole in a season was 9 and he was caught seven times that year. Lifetime he swiped 78 bases but was nailed 71 times for a very poor percentage.
On May 27, 1943, Stan stole two bases in a game. What’s noteworthy here is the fact that his two steals gave the Cards a team total of three on the year and that game was their 29th of the season!
As a fellow Donora native I found this to be an interesting coincidence: growing up Stan lived on Marelda Avenue. In 1946 he was living in a hotel at the start of the season but then he, wife Lil, and his young family moved into a furnished rental bungalow on a street with a name much like that of his old home, Mardel Avenue.
In off seasons, he continued to return to Donora and always had strong ties to the place of his roots. In October of 1946, though, he did say he was looking to make St. Louis his new home as he planned on buying a home and sending his son Dickie to school in St. Louis. The next month he attended one of many banquets Donora would hold in his honor. That month also featured him becoming the first man ever to win an MVP Award at two different positions, outfield and first base. At the time of the writing of the 2013 yearbook only two other men, Hank Greenberg and Alex Rodriguez matched that feat.
Trivia answer: In ’45 Stan missed the season due to serving in the Navy. That season his good friend Red Schoendienst wore #6 and even filled in as an outfielder instead of playing his normal spot at second base.