It’s been almost a year since The Prince of Baseball died. Almost a year. Although I was not privy to the Stan Musial era, I like to think I was a product of it. The old-schoolness. The high pants and long socks. The racial intolerance (disgusting). The gloves that looked like hands with the wee bit of webbing…
Yep. The first step is admission. I’m one of “those girls”. I look back. I look back to where I was a year ago and try to remember what was going on in my life a year ago. I look back and think how I can change my life to see where it could have been better, see what I could have changed to make everyone in my life a little happier, a little spunkier, a little more desirable. I’m that girl. One thing that occurred to me, as I was living life tonight, was that just about a year ago, the world got a little less bright, a little less sparkly, a little less vivid. What happened? The world loss Stan “the Man” Musial.
As the world continues to spin around us, and the sports world continues to play it’s game, I allow the Stan memorium to play in the background as I type. Stan was defined by greatness at the plate. Fans have the opportunity to purchase memorabilia thanks to the wonders of the interweb and where we can find whatever our dreams desire (if you’re willing to pay the price). When I desire to go to such a place, I pop “Field of Dreams” into my DVD player and watch it. Things were so simple, so much easier then, or so we may think. I often think about the time that he played. There were so many controversies that we don’t even see as controversies now. He played with such men as Jackie Robinson, the first African American to break into the big leagues: “Even more remarkable, Musial was one of the few white stars of his time who warmly welcomed black players like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays — and later Bob Gibson and Lou Brock — into the big leagues. In stark contrast, many of Musial’s teammates on the Cardinals, including Enos Slaughter, openly opposed the entry of blacks into the Major Leagues.” (Stan Musial, Baseball’s Perfect Prince, Palash Ghosh).
This year for Christmas, I struggled with what to get for my dad. Now, let me preface everything here with what I think about my dad. My dad is my hero, my saving grace, (other than my children) my everything. I will be the first to admit that I am your typical run of the mill 2000s kind of woman, thanks to my dad. Albeit a tad bit on the crazy side, my father is the one and only person who can keep me grounded. He is also the kind of guy that you wander around the department stores and think, “This man has everything that he needs and wants, and if he needs or wants it, he buys it for himself, so what in the sam hill am I suppose to buy him for Christmas?!” So, I did what any other loving daughter who wants her father to leave the one daughter that can drive that 1968 Camaro stick shift would do (hint, hint, Dad)…..I bought him a Stan Musial shirt to match my own. You know the one I’m talking about. The old school black and red Cardinal jersey shirt with those old school Cardinals and the 6 Musial on the back. Good news, folks, I continue to be el favorito daughter–numero uno. Sorry, sis, it happens.
You know, I haven’t blogged about anything baseball since all Hallow’s Eve this year. I haven’t opened my mouth one time. I’m still hurting, as I’m sure you are, but now is the time for reflection. I’m one of those girls that refuses to cry. I wear that title pretty proudly on my sleeve. You put me in front of a good baseball movie/special/ESPN late night escapade, you might as well pass me the tissues. I am in love with the fact that I can pass on to my own children that Stan made his mark. That he was one of the good ones, that my dad cheered for him, and I will let grandpa tell them the stories.
And although it hasn’t quite been a year, I will revel in my reflection. And, although it may mean nothing to him, I will make sure my son’s first t-ball jersey bears the number 6. And, I will work on reading comprehension with my daughter using nothing but articles about Stan’s tolerance of those over-shadowed talents in the early years of the major leagues. And, I will make sure my children hear the stories about Stan from both of their grandfathers, maybe so they can spend a little more time together, or maybe, just maybe, they can learn how to be a better human being…. I may even have them tell the stories to me, so as the stories can be passed down as we all would like them to be.
So on this day, not quite a year since baseball has lost it’s prince, I am proud to say that I am a Cardinal fan. I am a tried and true Cardinals’ fan, and I will pass that to my children. Why? Because they win a lot of baseball games? Because the Cardinals have a bullpen that will rival all of baseball? Because the Cardinals have a defense that will win games before the offense? Because the Cardinals are in a division that outlaws the designated hitter? Because the the Cardinals are the exact epitome of what it has meant to the baseball world as working your way up through the leagues to make yourself a meaningful player in the history of the franchise? Yes. All of the above.
Thank you, Stan. Thank you for everything. Thank you for allowing this midwest born and bred girl to teach her children everything that is important in life and for instilling that using the game of baseball. You were the beginning, and now you have enabled your fans to impart that into our children. We miss you and hope we do you justice.
As always…go Cards!