Skip to main content

Baseball great Stan 'The Man' Musial dies at 92

By Greg Botelho, CNN
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Photo portrait of Stan Musial in the 1960s.
Photo portrait of Stan Musial in the 1960s.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Musial played 22 years in the Major League, all with the St. Louis Cardinals
  • He retired in 1963 as, statistically, one of the best hitters in baseball history
  • He died Saturday evening of natural causes, his grandson says
  • Baseball commissioner, players, fans recall Musial as a great athlete and man

(CNN) -- He was simply "The Man."

Stanley Frank Musial made a name for himself as one of baseball's best hitters of all time on the field, as well as one of its greatest, most dignified ambassadors off it.

And now "Stan the Man" is gone. Musial died at his Ladue, Missouri, home surrounded by family, the Cardinals said in a statement. According to a post on his Twitter page, which is maintained by his grandson Brian Musial Schwarze, Musial died at 5:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. ET) Saturday of natural causes.

He was 92.

"We have lost the most beloved member of the Cardinals family," said William DeWitt Jr., the club's chairman. "Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball."

The Pennsylvania-born Musial transitioned from a lackluster pitcher to a stellar slugging outfielder, according to his biography on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's website.

The left-hander had a batting average above .300 17 times during his 22-year career -- all played with St. Louis -- and earned three National League Most Valuable Player awards as well as three World Series titles. The only blip came in 1945, in the thick of World War II, when he left baseball to join the U.S. Navy.

Stan Musial waves to fans during the 2012 National League Championship Series.
Stan Musial waves to fans during the 2012 National League Championship Series.

After the 1963 season, Musial retired with a .331 career batting average and as the National League's career leader in RBI, games played, runs scored, hits and doubles. He has since been surpassed in some of those categories, but he still ranks fourth in baseball history in total hits, behind only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron.

Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver dead

He also stood out for his grace and sportsmanship -- having never been ejected once by an umpire. In his retirement ceremony, then-Major League Commissioner Ford Frick referred to Musial as "baseball's perfect warrior, baseball's perfect knight."

In 1969, Musial was elected on his first try into the Hall of Fame, calling it "the greatest honor of the many that have been bestowed upon me."

During and after his playing career, Musial developed a special relationship with the St. Louis fan base, who knew him simply as "Stan the Man."

A bronze statue of him stands outside Busch Stadium, which is located in Musial Plaza along Stan Musial Drive.

He continued with the organization for more than 25 years after his playing days ended, serving as vice president and general manager.

And Musial was active in the community, contributing to causes such as the USO, the Senior Olympics, the Boy Scouts and Covenant House.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2013. Click through to see people who passed away in 2013.
People we lost in 2013
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2013 Photos: People we lost in 2013

"I have no hesitation to say that St. Louis is a great place in which to live and work," he said in his Hall of Fame induction speech. "We love St. Louis."

His fans returned the favor, revering him for his play as well as his character and commitment to the area.

"Cardinal Nation will never be the same. Rest in peace Stan 'The Man' Musial, the best Cardinal there ever was," wrote one woman, by the name of Elise, on Twitter.

Musial also stood tall outside eastern Missouri. He served between 1964 and 1967 as chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

In 2011, President Barack Obama bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

"Stan matched his hustle with humility," Obama said then. "Stan remains, to this day, an icon, untarnished; a beloved pillar of the community; a gentleman you'd want your kids to emulate."

Lillian, Musial's wife of 71 years, died last May -- a longlasting marriage that some people, online, called as admirable as anything that happened on the diamond.

Stan Musial's passing spurred an outpouring of condolences and praise. Commissioner Bud Selig described him as "a Hall of Famer in every sense" and "a true gentleman," former pitcher Curt Schilling called his life "a clinic in respect, integrity and honor," and current Cardinal Matt Holliday said it was "an honor to the same uniform."

The messages from fans were no less heartfelt.

Wrote Jason Lukehart, on Twitter: "In a week that's shown the dangers deifying athletes, Stan Musial's death reminds me that once in a great while, there's a man worthy of it."

People we lost in 2013: The lives they lived

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 0030 GMT (0830 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT)
Actor James Avery, who played the beloved Uncle Phil on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died. He was 67.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 1959 GMT (0359 HKT)
Dr. John W.V. Cordice, the surgeon who operated on Dr. Martin Luther King after he was stabbed in Harlem in 1958, died in Iowa. Cordice was 95.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Joseph Ruskin died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital. He was 89.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
Jeffrey Ian Pollack, who directed the popular 1990s films "Booty Call" and "Above the Rim" and produced "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has died. He was 54.
December 23, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian gun designer whose AK-47 rifle became the weapon of choice for many national armies and guerrillas around the world, died.
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Ned Vizzini, who shot to fame at a young age for his teenage novels focusing on youth depression and anxieties, committed suicide at age 32.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Al Goldstein, the foul-mouthed publisher of Screw magazine and pornography pioneer died in New York. He was 77.
December 31, 2013 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
Actor Daniel Escobar, who played a teacher in "Lizzie McGuire," died from complications of diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 49.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)
"Great Train Robber" Ronnie Biggs -- one of the most notorious British criminals of the 20th century -- has died, his publisher told CNN. He was 84.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
Ray Price, the Nashville star whose trademark "shuffle" beat became a country music staple, has died at age 87, his agent said.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine died, her longtime friend Noel Beutel said. She was 96.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Actor Peter O'Toole died peacefully in a hospital at 81 years old.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Tom Laughlin, the actor who wrote and starred in the "Billy Jack" films of the 1970s, died at age 82.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who played with the jazz greats of the 20th century and influenced the younger ones, has died, his family said. He was 83.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Actress Eleanor Parker, nominated for three Oscars and known for her "Sound of Music" role, died Monday at 91, her family said.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Bill Beckwith, who co-hosted HGTV home-improvement show "Curb Appeal," has died. He was 38.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious," died in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
November 30, 2013 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Paul F. Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2342 GMT (0742 HKT)
Jane Kean, who played diverse roles during a long career but was best known as Trixie on the TV revival of "The Honeymooners," has died. She was 90.
November 25, 2013 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Singer Wayne Mills, whose "outlaw country" songs center on honky-tonk life, died in a Nashville bar shooting.
ADVERTISEMENT