In my last blog, I covered some aspects of the career of Donora’s Stan Musial. Most of the info came from a St. Louis Cardinals publication and some came from a bio I wrote entitled Stan the Man (Triumph publisher). Here are some additional items:
Over the years I’ve heard different versions as to who was the first MLB player to hit $100,000 for a one-year contract. The Cardinals 2013 Yearbook states Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio reached that plateau in the AL before Stan became the first NL player to earn that much money.
Take what I found to be today’s best paid players and compare their paycheck to that of Stan. Strasburg is said to have made $38.3 this season and he is followed by teammate Scherzer at $37.4 million (those two salaries surpass the entire payroll for the Rays, Marlins, and Bluejays and it’s about the same as the total salaries for the Pirates and the Padres).
Now, take Strasburg’s salary and divide it by, say, his 33 regular season starts and you have him earning $1,160,606 per game–that’s more than 11 1/2 times what superstar Stan made for an entire season. For those who like such stats, Strasburg earned more for one inning of work, at $183,2253, than Stan got for a full season. Even if you throw in his work load for postseason play, the figures are still staggering.
Bonus Trivia Item: Do you know who hit the longest homer in the long history of Forbes Field? Scroll below for answer.
When Ryan Zimmerman hit a game ending home run in the Nats first game in their new ballpark (after leaving RFK Stadium), he tied Musial for the second most walkouts in NL history with 11.
One last money item: in 1947, Stan signed a contract for $31,000. Even though that is chump change nowadays, it marked the most money a Cardinals player had ever earned.
The longest Forbes Field homer belongs to Dick Stuart who once hit 66 home runs in the minors. His blow in Pittsburgh came on June 5, 1959, and it traveled over the center field wall on a pitch from Cubs Glenn Hobbie.
Stuart, who had quite an ego, loved to boast of his slugging. Vernon Law said Stuart took to signing his autograph “Dick Stuart, 66,” and he added a star to go along with it. The “66” was in reference to the number of homers he hit in the minors in 1956 when he became, at 23, the youngest man ever to top the 60 home run plateau.
Stu even bragged that he could have hit 90 homers that year if the Class A pitchers had better control. He said he had to chase many bad pitches just to reach 60 homers. He could have claimed he would have hit many more home runs if Forbes Field wasn’t his home park—in 1960, only eight of his 23 homers came there.
The above info on Stuart comes from the book I’m finishing–to be released next year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the wildest, most lopsided World Series ever back in 1960. The tentative title for the 2020 book is 1960: When the Pittsburgh Pirates Had ‘Em All the Way. That, as all Pittsburghers know, is a reference to announcer Bob Prince’s famous phrase.