Passing of Baseball Legends
Today was one of the darker days for the MLB as the fiery spirit of two legends went out. Earlier this morning at approximately 2:00 a.m., longtime legendary Baltimore Orioles Skipper Earl Weaver passed away from a heart attack while on a Baltimore Oriole sponsored cruise. Then later on in the evening of the same day, the former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Stanley "Stan" Frank Musial passed away from natural causes at his home in Laude, Missouri.
Earl Weaver was a well-renowned skipper of the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-1982 and then from 1985-1986. In between managing stints, Weaver was a baseball color commentator for ABC. During his tenure, Weaver composed a 1,480-1,060 record that included 4 AL Pennants (1969-1972, 1979), a World Series victory in 1970, had 6 seasons where the Orioles had 100+ wins (109 in '69, 108 in '70, 101 in '71, 102 in '79, and 100 in '80), and only had one losing season in 1986. Weaver's philosophy as a manager was to focus on pitching, defense, patience at the plate for the big hit, using a platoon system and that statistics would help determine how successful a pitcher-hitter match up would be. He was most famous for his quarrels with umpires, holding the record for the most ejections from a game with 94. Weaver's #4 jersey was retired by the Baltimore Orioles in 1982 and he was inducted into Cooperstown in 1996.
Stan Musial was the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman and the outfielder for 22 seasons from 1941-1944 and then from 1946-1963. He only missed the 1945 season due to serving in the U.S. Navy. People used to call him "Stan the Man" as with just cause. During his whole major league career, Stan was voted as an All-Star 24 times, tying him with the 'Say Hey Kid' Willy Mays. He won 3 World Series in '42, '44, and in '46 to go along with his 3 NL MVP awards (1943, 1946, 1948), 7 NL Batting titles ( 1943, 1946, 1948, 1950-52, 1957) and his 1957 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Stan had a career average of .331, had 3,630 hits, 475 HR, and 1,951 RBIs. But what really stood out was the kind of player he was. Stan exhibited such character and integrity both on and off the diamond that many of his teammates as well as opponents took notice and admired. People always saw him play with the same effort and passion every game and was never ejected once during his 3,026 plate appearances. The following quote by Bob Costas can summarize who Stan Musial was: "He didn't hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn't hit in 56 straight games. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her.... All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being."
And so our thoughts and prayers go out to the Weaver and Musial families. Both men represented what the game of baseball is truly all about and both of them will be deeply missed. Good night and god bless.
-Ryan L. Fox
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