Bob Costas gave a moving eulogy for Stan Musial (Video)

bob costas eulogyStan Musial was an exceptional ballplayer and by many accounts exceptional human being. It was fitting that he was eulogized in an exceptional manner.

Veteran sportscaster and St. Louis native Bob Costas spoke for over 19 minutes at the funeral for Musial Saturday, a week after the Baseball Hall of Famer died at the age of 92. Costas says he spoke at the request of Musial, who asked him late in life to deliver the eulogy at his funeral.

Costas discussed the underrated nature of Musial’s playing career. He noted that while Musial had excellent overall numbers, there was no single stat from his career that stood out, nor were there any remarkable or captivating aspects of his personality.

“It seems that all that Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer, and nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being,” noted Costas.

Costas also talked about the strong connection Musial had to St. Louis, and how the two were great matches for each other.

“He remained the perfect embodiment of baseball in the city where baseball matters the most.”

19 minutes is a long time to spend watching a video, so if you are unable to sit through the whole thing, we highly suggest you skip to the 8:00 mark where Costas tells a great story about Musial breaking a color barrier in an All-Star Game clubhouse.

According to Costas, at one of the all-star games in the 1950s, several black members of the NL All-Star team — guys like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Ernie Banks — were gathered in a corner of the NL clubhouse playing cards. They kept to themselves likely because they did not feel welcome. As the story goes, Musial walked over to the group and asked them to deal him in for their next hand. As Costas says, that was Musial’s way of telling the players they were welcome.

Costas cried a bit while telling that story, and it was hard not to get caught up in the emotion and cry with him.

Costas delivered a wonderful tribute to someone who by many accounts was a wonderful man.

Video via KTVI/FOX2
H/T Deadspin

Stan Musial remembered fondly by fans, players

stan musialBaseball Hall of Famer and lifetime St. Louis Cardinal Stan Musial died on Saturday at the age of 92. There has been an outpour of tributes for the legend, which is a testament to his accomplishments and character.

I wasn’t born until 20 years after Stan the Man’s career ended, so I obviously never saw him play. But what I do know is that based on his statistics, Musial is far too frequently overlooked when it comes to discussions about the best players of all time.

Musial broke into the big leagues as a 20-year-old in 1941. He hit .426 in 47 at-bats, and that was a premonition of what was to come. Musial went on to win seven batting titles — including one at age 36 — and he finished with a lifetime .331 average. His bat control and strikeout-to-walk ratio is among the best of all time. He walked over 100 times three seasons, yet he never struck out more than 46 times.

Musial was a three-time MVP and 24-time All-Star over his 22-year career (there were multiple All-Star Games a few years). He is fourth all time in career hits with 3,630, and the best part is he recorded exactly half at home, and half on the road. Musial led the league in offensive categories numerous times. Let’s count them down:

    - Doubles 8 times
    – Batting average 7 times
    – OPS 7 times
    – OBP 6 times
    – Slugging 6 times
    – Total bases 6 times
    – Runs 5 times
    – Hits 5 times
    – Triples 5 times

Musial was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 after receiving 93.2 percent of the votes. He had a spectacular peak, and he also had longevity.

Musial led the Cardinals to the World Series four straight seasons (he missed 1945 to serve in the military during World War II), three of which they won. He led the league in WAR three of those seasons.

For as much as we talk about his offense Musial actually was a pitcher when he began his career and didn’t switch to the outfield until injuring his arm. According to CBS’ Eye on Baseball, Musial went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA as a 19-year-old minor-league pitcher.

The story of Musial isn’t complete if you stop it after listing his unreal accomplishments on the field. According to most people who tell it, he also had Hall of Fame character.

[Read more...]