Stars, fans salute Musial at funeral
ST. LOUIS — Stan Musial was remembered during a funeral and memorial outside Busch Stadium on Saturday as a Hall of Famer and a St. Louis icon embraced by generations of fans who never had the privilege of watching him play.
Broadcaster Bob Costas, his voice cracking with emotion at times, pointed out during a two-hour Mass that in 92 years of life, Stan the Man never let anyone down.
Costas noted that even though Musial, who died Jan. 19, was a three-time NL MVP and seven-time batting champion, the Donora native lacked a singular achievement. Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams was the last major leaguer to hit .400, and Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle soared to stardom in the New York spotlight. Musial didn't quite reach the 500-homer club — he finished with 475 — and played in his final World Series in 1946, “wouldn't you know it, the year before they started televising the Fall Classic!”
“What was the hook with Stan Musial other than the distinctive stance and the role of one of baseball's best hitters?” Costas said. “It seems that all Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer and more than nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being.”
There was enough room in the large Roman Catholic church for a handful of fans. One of them wore a vintage, No. 6 Musial jersey. Another clapped softly as pallbearers carried the casket from the church to the hearse to the tune of bagpipes.
Among those in attendance were baseball commissioner Bud Selig, former St. Louis standout Albert Pujols and Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Whitey Herzog and Red Schoendienst, 90, who once roomed with Musial.