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St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial dies at 92

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.”

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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 colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Share your favorite Musial cards or memories in the comments below.

13 Comments

Suzy

As a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, this is a true sad day in baseball history – Stan the Man was not only one of the best baseball players ever – he was a great human being – he was extremely underrated because he played in the MidWest. He was an All-Star player 24 times, a World War II Vet, a humanitarian, and was truly beloved by all of St. Louis and baseball fans across the country. He would attend all of the Cardinal Opening Day games (health permitting) up to the very end. He will be greatly missed! RIP, Stan the Man!

Posted January 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink
kris

tough day today

Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
Charles

Suzy said it perfectly. Baseball’s perfect warrior, Baseball’s perfect Knight!

“No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today…. He plays as hard when his club is away out in front of a game as he does when they’re just a run or two behind.”

—Ty Cobb, on Musial in a 1952

Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

God Bless you Stan The Man and the Earl of Baltimore!

Posted January 20, 2013 at 1:02 am | Permalink
Todd

Wow. Earl Weaver is basically nothing more than a footnote in your article. HOF member, one of the game’s best managers and his use of statistical analysis changed the way many managers went about their jobs. Swing and a miss Beckett, swing and a miss…

Posted January 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
Bill

Todd: I concur 100% with your comment. No mention of Weaver’s accomplishments as a manager, let alone his feisty character. Beckett missed.

Posted January 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
Michael Poyma

two big ones lost…i’m fortunate enough to have Stan’s auto!

Posted January 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Todd and Bill: I’m not obligated to write an obit for every single person who dies. Simple as that.

It’s my judgment call — and Stan Musial is a much, much, much bigger deal for the hobby. Case in point, Weaver has just 247 cards that can all be had for about $1,700. That’s a small sliver of Musial (4,880, $150,000+) in terms of demand and interest on cardboard. It’s not even close.

Posted January 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

Chris, you are my favorite writer in the hobby and I have tremendous respect for you, but for once I’m going to have to disagree with you. There are just 62 living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. When any of them passes it is a huge deal for baseball and the hobby. Say what you will about the number of and value of Earl Weaver’s cards, but what about the players he managed? There are just 4 players in the Hall who represent the Baltimore Orioles franchise and Earl managed them all. How many managers can say that? Would they had been Hall of Famers without Earl? Perhaps, but he clearly had an impact. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the value of all the Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken Jr cards rival that of Stan Musial.

Nearly 20,000 players and managers have suited up and just 300 have been enshrined. Losing any of them is a newsworthy event in the industry and warrants the level of respect due such a revered individual.

Posted January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink
Suzy

Earl Weaver was a great baseball manager and icon but it’s truly a shame that a tribute thread for Stan the Man has turned into an argument over coverage of Mr. Weaver’s death.

Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink
jimmydelpasotx

As my sadness sinks in I imagine Stan launching balls off a Naval carrier into the Pearl Harbor, smiling as he watched them sail. Today remember his lifelong friend, Red, and WS game 7 at Sportsman Park 1946 (available on DVD if you never saw video of Stan). Remember 5 home runs in a doubleheader, racking up 21 total bases in a single days work. Remember his harmonica and his Cardinal red blazer circling the stadium drawn in a Budweiser carriage and larger than life horses.

I appreciated seeing the obituary here on Beckett. I collect Stan and will continue to do so. I am guessing the value will continue to rise. R.I.P. Stan

Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink
Erik

Great write up Chris – Stan was “The Man” not because of him being an all-time great “on” the field but because of him being an all-time great “off” the field. Just a terrific human being and those don’t come around as often as they should, and especially when it comes to professional athletes. He will be sorely missed by this Cardinal fan and by all of Cardinal nation. God Bless #6 and his family.

Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink
dwaynebrooksD

I will never forget when i heard the comment “Stan the Man” I think i was around 7 year’s old and loved and played the game until i turned down a full scholarship to Wallace State here in Alabama back in 1987. But being a kid i had to know what it meant “Stan the Man”. My first cousin told me it was what they called Stan Musial!!! RIP and May God Bless the Musial family and the Cardinal franchise…

Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

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