We, especially those of us raised in Donora, Pa., know a lot about Stan Musial and his greatness. However, from time to time I stumble across a new fact or stat about him such as:
Did you know he was the only N.L. player from 1930-1996 to post a slugging percentage of .700 or better? OPINION: As far as I’m concerned he’s still the only one to do that from 1930 through today. I say that because the others to top .700 were men I call cheaters, McGwire and Bonds, or Larry Walker. I mention him because I dismiss a lot of the stats and feats of those who had Coor’s Field as their home park. The best a fellow Donora native did in this category was an impressive .674 by Griffey Jr (who once led his league in slugging). Musial, by the way, led the N.L. in slugging six times.
Stan was the first N.L. player to cop three MVP Awards. One source states he was also the first N.L. star to reach the $100,000 plateau for salary. He is still the only man with 400+ HR with fewer than 700 strikeouts–he hit 475 homers and fanned just 696 times. He drew 1,599 walks over his 22 seasons. He averaged just about 30 strikeouts per year–compare THAT to today’s totals for star players. Nowadays who can hit for average like Stan, with a lot of combined double/home run power, yet hardly ever whiff? NOBODY. As a 22-year-old in 1943, he had 700 plate appearances and struck out a career low of 18 times! That’s about 2 1/2 strikeouts per every 100 times he stood in the batter’s box.
P.S. On Walker. Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? I wonder. He was very good, but great? From his first full season, 1990, through 1994 spent as an Expo, he led his league in one statistic one time. His RBI totals in Montreal were 51, 64, 93, 86, and 86 and his highest home run output was 23. Then in his first two full seasons in Colorado, he hit 36 and 49 HR with 101 and 130 RBI. The first year he led the league in slugging he actually had a higher percentage on the road than at home. However, in ’99 when he again led the league, he slugged .879 in the thin air of his home park to a mere .519 away! What a startling disparity!! Leave a comment if you have an opinion on this.