Cardinals All-Time Top 40 – Stan Musial #1

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time concludes with their three-time Most Valuable Player and first-ballot Hall of Famer, Stan Musial.

Stanley Frank Musial

The Basics




Total Yrs

Yrs in StL








1941-'44, '46-'63

1941-'44, '46-'63





The Awards


Retired #

World Champ



Cy Yng

G Glv





43, '46, '48



Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Musial's career stats available from

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (1): The ultimate Cardinal icon, no player in franchise history comes close to matching Musial's standing as the greatest player in team history. In the 14 categories in which the team ranks its top 10 performers of all time, Musial is at the number one spot in 11 of them. The only three missing from the list are batting average, where he is fifth all-time with a .331 mark; stolen bases, and pinch hits, where he ranks seventh despite almost never being out of the lineup.

Musial won three MVP awards and was second in the voting four times. He was an All-Star every year from 1943 through 1963. He led the league in batting average seven times and twice in RBIs. He had 10 seasons in which he drove in 100 or more runs. He scored 100 or more runs 11 times. From 1942 to 1958, his lowest batting average for a season was .310.

He missed leading the league in home runs, and winning the Triple Crown in 1948, by one homer. That was the season former Dodger Preacher Roe said he had learned the secret of how to pitch to Musial: "Walk him on four pitches and pick him off first." Roe's teammate, Carl Erskine, said his strategy toward Musial was "throw him my best stuff, then run over to back up third base."

Jerry Modene (1): Duh. Who else was going to rate #1? Stash had it all – a great bat, solid defense, great wheels (how many remember that his original nickname – "The Donora Greyhound" – was a tribute to his speed?), line-drive power, which ultimately matured at age 27 to home-run power, and seven batting championships.

Amazing that if he hadn't hurt his arm, he might have spent his entire career as a middling-to-good lefty pitcher instead. My favorite baseball statistic of all is the fact that of Musial's 3630 hits, 1815 came at home – and 1815 came on the road. My second favorite baseball statistic is the fact that even 33 years after his last All-Star Game, Stan Musial still holds the record for most All-Star home runs, with six.

A guy with as much class as he had talent, it's a shame he's been all but forgotten by so many in the baseball community; as Bill James wrote in the original Historical Abstract, he makes a better statue. We should enjoy Stan's presence as long as we can – he's well into his 80's now – and take some solace that after Stan's no longer with us, perhaps the mainstream baseball community will do a double-take and realize just how great a player – and a man – Stan Musial was, and is.

Ray Mileur (1): One thing we can all agree on is that Stan "The Man" Musial is the greatest and most popular player in St. Louis Cardinals History.

He played his entire 22-year career in St. Louis and he is the leader in virtually every batting category; games (3,026), at bats (10,972), runs (1,949), hits (3,630), doubles (725), triples (177), home runs (475), RBI (1,951), walks (1,599) and total bases (6,134).

Winner of the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1943, 1946 and 1948, at the time of his retirement in 1963, Musial held 17 major league, 29 National League, and nine All-Star game records. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with in 1969, being named on 93 percent of the ballots.

If you were going to build a baseball organization around one player in all of baseball history, in my opinion, that one player would be Stan Musial. A bronze statue of Musial stands outside the new Busch Stadium with the following words: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight." That says it all.

Stan "The Man" Musial, the All-Time Greatest St. Louis Cardinal.

Brian Walton (1): Most fittingly, Musial is the only player in the Top 40 about whom we all four agree. When Musial retired, he held the major league records for extra-base hits and total bases and National League bests in runs, hits, doubles and RBIs. His 3,630 career hits trail only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron.

Musial joined the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot selection in 1969 after being named on 93% of the ballots. What could the other 7% of those sportswriters have been thinking?

Rather than my inadequate words, I will instead call on one of the Cardinals greats himself, the late broadcaster Jack Buck, to put a wrap on this article and this entire top 40 series.

"I don't think there is anyone in any sport who combined the supreme talent with a great personality. He is also is one of the most beautiful people who ever walked the face of the earth. I don't think there's anybody who compares to Stan Musial on both fronts," Buck said.

Amen to that.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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