By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
Major League Baseball lost one of its greatest hitters Saturday as St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan “The Man” Musial died after prolonged illnesses. He was 92.
A three-time NL MVP, seven-time batting champion and 24-time All-Star, Musial recorded an NL record 3,630 hits at the time of his retirement and batted .331 in 22 big-league seasons, all with the Cardinals. He never led the NL in home runs, but hit 475 for his career, which still ranks in the top 30. He was a member of three World Series champion teams and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, his first year on the ballot.
“Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball,” said Cardinals Chairman William DeWitt Jr. “We have lost the most-beloved member of the Cardinals family.”
Just as he was a giant on the field, he was a great on cardboard as well. Musial appears on 4,880 different baseball cards valued at more than $158,000 not including rarities, according to the Beckett.com database (click here for a checklist or Online Price Guide) but he has just one Rookie Card. His 1948 Bowman RC typically sells for $800 or less.
Musial was a prolific signer through the years, appearing on 1,505 different certified autograph cards alone beyond years of personal appearances and his own company. In addition, he appears on more than 2,100 different game-used memorabilia cards.
In 2010, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country, a moment he marked in one of his trademarked ways in recent years — playing on his harmonica. (A portion of that can be viewed above.)
“Stan remains, to this day, an icon untarnished,” President Barack Obama said at the time, “a beloved pillar of the community, a gentleman you’d want your kids to emulate.”
Earlier Saturday, the Hall of Fame lost a second member as former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver died at age 82.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
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