Today one of the greatest players in the history of the game
will receive the highest honor that the President of the United States can
confer to a civilian of our country.
Stanley Frank Musial (Stan the Man) will receive the
Presidential Medal of Freedom award.
of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who
have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national
interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other
significant public or private endeavors.
a White House press release announcing the award.
Congrats to Stan the Man.
I’ve always felt that Musial is one of the ten best
players to play the game. And amazingly to me, I think he is one of the most
underappreciated players in the game.
Why? I don’t know. Is it because of the time period he
played in? Is it because he played in St. Louis, not New York, for his entire
career? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t do much TV. But for whatever reason, when
bar discussions take place and guys start throwing out the names of the
greatest players to play the game, Musial’s name takes a while before coming
You can find all of Musial’s stats here:
But I will point out a few that should be highlighted.
Stan won 3 MVP’s and finished second 4 other times.
Stan was a 24 time All-Star.
He is fourth all-time in hits (3630); he was second only
to Cobb when he retired.
He’s still 28th on the all-time home run list;
he was number 8 when he retired.
Stan is top 20 all-time in hits, RBI’s, doubles, triples,
total bases, base on balls, slugging %, and OPS.
If nothing else, I hope today’s award gives Musial some
long overdue acknowledgment. (Hopefully
I can post a picture of Stan receiving the award sometime later today)
Side note: The St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols
agreed to extend the deadline to reach a contract agreement for 24 hours until
Weds out of respect for Musial receiving today’s award. If no contract is
signed, Pujols has said he will end all talks with the team so that his status
with the team is not a constant distraction. All that means to me is that
Albert doesn’t want to be answering questions about the contract. This issue is
not going away. There will be distractions. There won’t be a day all season that fans won’t be reminded
that Pujols is a free agent at the end of the year. Every time Albert drives in
a run or hits a bomb into Big Mac Land, fans and players will be reminded that
this guy is the best player in the game and nobody knows what team he will play
for in 2012.