Click to enlargeSTAN  MUSIAL*  *HOF*  /  CARDINALS  BALL

Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial (pron.: /ˈmjuːziəl/ or /ˈmjuːʒəl/; born Stanisław Franciszek Musiał; November 21, 1920 January 19, 2013) was an American professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals (19411963). Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial was a record 24-time All-Star selection (tied with Willie Mays), and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.[1] He compiled 3,630 hits (ranking fourth all-time and most in a career spent with only one team). With 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 on the road, he also is considered to be the most consistent hitter of his era.[1] He also compiled 475 home runs during his career, was named the National League's (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, and won three World Series championship titles. Musial was a first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, where he frequently played baseball in both informal and organized settings, eventually playing on the baseball team at Donora High School. Signed to a professional contract by the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938, Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Noted for his unique batting stance, he quickly established himself as a consistent and productive hitter. In his first full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series. The following year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award. He was also named an All-Star for the first time; he would be selected to every All-Star Game in every subsequent season he played. Musial won his second World Series ring in 1944, then missed the entire 1945 season while serving with the United States Navy.

On his return to baseball in 1946, Musial resumed his consistent hitting. That year he earned his second MVP award and third World Series title. His third MVP award came in 1948, when he finished one home run shy of winning baseball's Triple Crown. After struggling offensively in 1959, Musial used a personal trainer to help maintain his productivity until he decided to retire in 1963. At the time of his retirement, he held or shared 17 major league records, 29 National League records, and 9 All-Star Game records. In addition to overseeing businesses, such as a restaurant both before and after his playing career, Musial served as the Cardinals' general manager in 1967, winning the pennant and World Series, then quitting that position. He also became noted for his harmonica playing, a skill he acquired during his playing career. Known for his modesty and sportsmanship, Musial was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. In February 2011 President Barack Obama presented Musial with Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States.







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