Musial's death denotes 'end of incredible era'
ST. LOUIS — Stan the Man was the dominant topic at the St. Louis Cardinals' annual fan festival. Outside Busch Stadium, it was totally about paying tribute, too.
All day Sunday, fans ignored near-freezing temperatures and gathered around the larger of the two Musial statues at the ballpark, remembering the Donora native, Hall of Famer and franchise icon who died Saturday at 92. Team flags were at half-staff.
Among the tributes was a statement from President Barack Obama saying he was “saddened to learn of the passing of baseball legend Stan Musial.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called Musial “a great American hero who — with the utmost humility — inspired us all to aim high and dream big. The world is emptier today without him, but far better to have known him.”
The team was awaiting word from Musial's family on arrangements for a formal tribute. Weather could preclude a home-plate ceremony and casket viewing for fans such as was done when broadcaster Jack Buck died in 2002.
“It's the end of an incredible era,” team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. “We've told them whatever they would like to do, we would certainly be there for them.
“Stan epitomized everything that's great about Cardinal baseball in every way.”
Despite the weather there was a game-day feel at the ballpark. Dozens at a time congregated around the statue, often blocking a lane of traffic to get the perfect photo. Many fans dropped off mementoes, including miniature bats, balls inscribed with messages, hats, flowers and flags at the base.
A tear rolling down one eye, 65-year-old Gene Sandrowski of St. Louis remembered attending a 1954 doubleheader when Musial hit five homers against the New York Giants at Sportsman's Park.
“I snuck in and worked my way down,” said Sandrowski, who wore a Cardinals jacket and hat, as did many others. “What a game, what a player. He was a very generous man, too.
“I've got a ball signed by him at home: ‘To Gene, to a great baseball fan, Stan Musial Hall of Fame.' Try to get an autograph now, they've got them all fenced off.”
The most expensive item in the team store came off the shelf. Richard Dunseth of Jacksonville, Ill., deemed the $900 price tag for an autographed Stan Musial jersey a bargain. For $169, you could purchase an autographed ball in a cube.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- MLB notebook: Rays’ managerial search narrowed to 3 finalists
- MLB notebook: Stanton’s deal with Marlins heavily backloaded
- MLB notebook: Owners approve 5-year term for new commissioner