Stan "The Man" Musial, Honored Saturday

Hours before Saturday's exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the new Cardinals affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals, the crowds gathered at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame to pay tribute to the great Stan "the Man" Musial.

In a career that spanned 22 years, Stan Musial ranked at or near the top of Baseball's all-time lists in almost every batting category. The dead-armed Class C pitcher became a slugging outfielder who topped the .300 mark 17 times and won seven National League batting titles with his famed corkscrew stance and ringing line drives. A three-time MVP, he played in 24 All-Star Games.

Legend has it, he was nicknamed "The Man" by Dodger fans for the havoc he wrought at Ebbets Field.

The life-sized creation by sculptor Harry Weber was unveiled outside the Hall. The statue, funded by more than $200,000 in donations, according to a report from the Springfield News Leader. The statute depicts Musial signing an autograph for a young fan.

The image of the bronze creation was taken from the 1963 drawing of Amadee Wohlschlaeger's 1963 drawing "The Boy and the Man."

Amadee Wohlschlaeger was one of the very few weatherbird artist and legendary cartoonist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch from 1932 until he retired in 1981.

After checking the pose of the bronze statue for realism, the 84-year-old Musial displayed the same humor and charm that won over millions of fans more than four decades ago.

"You may have noticed when I walked up here, I have a bad knee," Musial told the more than 200 fans gathered on the lawn.

"And the reason is, I hit too many triples — I should have been hitting home runs."

Springfield, where he spent three months in 1941 as a minor league outfielder, holds a special place in his heart, Musial said:

"The right field (fence) was only 300 feet!"

Stan Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by Baseball Writers Association of America BBWAA, in 1969 with 317 votes of 340 ballots cast: 93.24%.

What do they have to say about Stan "the Man" Musial?

"He could have hit .300 with a fountain pen." - Joe Garagiola

"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away." - Vin Scully

"In baseball, there is something electrifying about the big leagues. I had read so much about (Stan) Musial, (Ted) Williams and (Jackie) Robinson. I had put those guys on a pedestal. They were something special. I really thought they put their pants on different, rather than one leg at a time." - Hank Aaron

"I've had pretty good success with Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third." - Carl Erskine

"Once (Stan) Musial timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy." - Warren Spahn

"The man I marvel at is the one that's in there day after day, and night after night and still puts the figures on the board. I"m talking about Pete Rose, Stan Musial, the real stars. Believe me, especially the way we travel today, flying all night with a game the next night and then the next afternoon, if you can play one-hundred and sixty-two games, you're a man." - Sparky Anderson

"They can talk about Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby and Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial and all the rest, but I'm sure not one of them could hold cards and spades to (Ted) Williams in his sheer knowledge of hitting. He studied hitting the way a broker studies the stock market, and could spot at a glance mistakes that others couldn't see in a week." - Carl Yastrzemski

"Stan "The Man" Musial" in spite of his legendary status in Cardinal Nation, is still one of the most underrated superstars in the history of the game. He is without a doubt the Greatest Cardinal player ever and he is certainly among the Top 10 greatest players ever." - Ray Mileur, Cardinals Birdhouse.

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