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Stan Musial’s greatness undiminished by time

Jan 19, 2013, 8:28 PM EDT

Stan Musial

Stan Musial’s name doesn’t dot the record books anywhere near as frequently as those of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Still, for consistent greatness, perhaps no one matched Stan the Man, who passed away Saturday at age 92.

– Excluding his one-year absence due to military service in 1945, Musial, who spent his entire career with the Cardinals, hit .310 or better every year from 1942 to 1958. That’s age 21 to age 37. He qualified for the NL batting title all 16 of those seasons, finishing first seven times, second twice, third four times, fourth twice and fifth once. He also finished third in 1962 at age 41.

– In addition to his seven batting titles, he led the NL in OBP six times, in slugging six times and in OPS seven times.

– He led the league in runs scored five times, hits six times, doubles eight times, triples five times, RBI twice, walks once and games played five times.

– He did all this while never striking out more than 46 times in a season. He finished his career with 1,599 walks and just 696 strikeouts.

– Musial played in 24 All-Star Games (in 20 seasons), tying Willie Mays for the most of all-time.

– Even 50 years after his retirement, Musial ranks 2nd all-time in total bases (6,134), 4th all-time in hits (3.630), 30th in average (.331), 22nd in OBP (.417), 19th in slugging (.559), 13th in OPS (.976), ninth in runs (1,959), sixth in RBI (1,951), third in doubles (725), 19th in triples (177), 28th in homers (475) and 13th in walks.

– Advanced stats: Musial ranks 12th all-time in Baseball-Reference’s WAR, ninth among position players. He’s third in runs created (2,562) and his OPS+ of 159 ranks 15th.

– Only Barry Bonds, with seven MVPs, has been more successful in the MVP balloting. Musial is one of eight players with three MVPs, and he has four second-place finishes to go along with them.

– Musial wasn’t particularly productive in the World Series, but his Cardinals teams won three of the four in which he played. He hit .256/.347/.395 with one homers and eight RBI in his 23 postseason games.

Musial ended up playing 21 full seasons, plus his 12 games as a 20-year-old in 1941. Never once did he finish with an OPS+ under 100. He ranked among the NL’s best hitters at both 21 and 41. He hit .300 18 times. Only Aaron, with 15, had more seasons with 300 total bases than Musial’s 13. Only Bonds, Ruth and Ted Williams, with 18 each, had more seasons with .900 OPSs than Musial’s 17.

Musial may have missed some milestones in finishing with 475 homers and 1,951 RBI, but his status as one of baseball’s very best hitters is cemented. The awesome nickname probably doesn’t hurt.

  1. themagicfanguy - Jan 19, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Oh no! So sad. RIP Stan the Man.

  2. halohonk - Jan 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Nothing but class. I wish todays premadonna ballplayers could appreciate what players like “Stan the Man” brought to the table both on and off the field. May he Rest in peace.

  3. fearlessleader - Jan 19, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Thanks for this. It would be hard to express what Stan Musial means to the city of St. Louis and to Cardinal Nation, and what they meant to him throughout his career and his retirement. I feel like we’ve all lost a family member today, and it’s nice to see him getting his due. Rest in peace, “perfect knight.”

  4. ajbaxter1975 - Jan 19, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    A true role model both on and off the field. It’ll be a long time before we see his like again in baseball.

  5. yahmule - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Nice summary, Matthew.

  6. dondada10 - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    “He did all this while never striking out more than 46 times in a season.”

    Wow. Good article, Matt.

  7. ezwriter69 - Jan 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    It was a different world and a different game, but Stan Musial belongs with a very small group as among the greatest ever to play. He did it all, and he did it with grace and class.
    Saw him with my father in his last game at Wrigley, way way back when.
    Never struck out more than 46 times, with those offensive numbers? I’ll second that wow, dondada10.

  8. jimatkins - Jan 19, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    What a player. There should be a picture of Stan the Man in the dictionary for the words class, consistency, and gentlemanly. No more than forty-six strikeouts in a season? That’s a good month for some people.

  9. trapshoot - Jan 19, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    I was able see him play several times. Class all the way. Today’s spoiled players do not come close to him in any respect.

  10. oldcat157 - Jan 20, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Never heard of the guy.

    • daviddmsvcp - Jan 20, 2013 at 1:01 AM

      Well, you aren’t a baseball fan

  11. bearsfanthruthicknthin - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Oldcat you shouldn’t have bothered wasting your time to comment.

  12. zurnvs - Jan 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Oldcat, you sir should be deleted. Wrong sport, not football.

  13. jayscarpa - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    “Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Musial is Mr. May.”


  14. gedwards1159 - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Class personified. Stan “The Man” quite certainly belongs on the Mt Rushmore of baseball’s alltime greats.

  15. jaybyrd99 - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    RIP Stan – a great man and ball player .
    FYI – the minimal strikeouts was amazing but not uncommon back then . DiMaggio and Berra averaged around 30 plus a year and teddy ball game just around 50 !

  16. hushbrother - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    My dad’s favorite player (along with Ted Williams) growing up.

  17. beansrdone - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Had 1815 hits at home… 1815 hits on the road. Just a cool stat for a legend

  18. stlouis1baseball - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    1815 hits on the road…1815 hits at home.
    Yeah…fairly consistent.

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