Saturday, January 19, 2013

RIP Stan Musial and Earl Weaver

Baseball lost two legendary Hall of Famers today with the passing of Earl Weaver at age 82 and Stan "The Man" Musial at age 92.

Weaver was manager of the great Baltimore Oriole teams of the 70's and early 80's.  He was outspoken and blunt with players and famously with umpires, but he got players to perform for him.  If you are one of those people who think Billy Beane invented Moneyball, well, he didn't.  Earl Weaver summed up his strategy for winning by saying game were won by great pitching and 3 run homers.  OBP and SLG%, there you have it, 3 decades before Moneyball!  He was also ahead of his time in understanding and promoting the value of defense. He may not have had the statistics at his disposal, but he understood there was more to defense than not making errors.  He said that his centerfielder, Paul Blair, never made a great catch because on any ball hit in the park Blair was already there, camped under it.  Weaver was famous for playing inferior hitters, such as Mark Belanger and Blair, at key positions because of their superior defense.  The MLB eulogy for Weaver tells a story of how his RF Pat Kelly invited him to church.  Weaver declined.  As the story goes, Kelly asked him, "don't you want to walk with God?"  Weaver reportedly replied, "I'd rather walk with the bases loaded."  Not sure I believe every word of that story, but it does illustrate how Weaver was ahead of his time in understanding the value of a base on balls.

Stan Musial was to the St. Louis Cardinals what Willie Mays is to the Giants.  The embodiment of the organization.  The greatest player in the history of a storied franchise.  During his 21+ year career, all with the Cardinals, he won 3 MVP awards, 3 World Series, and 7 batting titles and a career .331 BA.  When he retired, he held or shared 17 MLB records and 29 NL records and still ranks among the leaders in many categories.  In his greatest season, 1948, he led the NL in Runs(135), hits(230), doubles(46), triples(18), RBI's(131) and BA(.376), SLG%(.702) and Total Bases(429) while finishing second in HR's(39) just 1 behind Ralph Kiner.

I have a friend and colleague who grew up, lived and worked in St. Louis for most of his life and his career.  He has a full Stan Musial road uniform on display in a glass case in his house.  I think it is his most treasured possession.

So, RIP Earl Weaver and Stan "The Man" Musial.  Two baseball legends who made the game better and all of us happier in their own way.


  1. I had the pleasure of once seeing Musial, at the Polo Grounds, in his heyday. Of course I was rooting for him to make out, despite some stray Cardinal fans around me, cheering him on as "Stash," which I suppose is a nickname for "Stanislaus." But the vivid visual memory of him looking dangerous at the plate, coiled to strike with his bat held vertically, has stuck with me for sixty-plus years, enough so that I was taken aback and saddened when I found DrB's notice that he had died. RIP indeed

  2. im almost positive that most of weaver's on field antics were for the benefit of the fans and his players...unlike fat tommy who is a degenerate with a potty mouth

    i gotta should never compare players from different eras, but if i were a voter for the hof, my line in the sand would be musial....not as good as dont make it in...then it would be ok to turn in a blank ballot


    monell hit another dinger and is hitting 318 in the winter...with the wbc, watch for him to get a long hard look during the spring...he probably wont take hectors place...but i honestly see him as part of a midseason trade package...kid is too good to be kept on the farm

  3. 2 of the absolute best. Baseball heros. Fare thee well.

  4. More people live to their 80's and 90's than ever before. Still, that's another accomplishment for both Weaver and Musial.

    What great players are still with us today who played in the early 40's?

  5. Good bye to two great figures in baseball history! Stan was indeed The Man! And Earl Weaver was a great innovator in baseball, the saber before there was a saber.