What a sad weekend for baseball fans everywhere. First Earl Weaver, legendary hothead/tactical genius/beloved manager, then Stan Musial, legendary legend. I only know a couple guys from St. Louis, but every baseball fan I know counts Stan among their favorites ever.
In the words of our friends over at Viva El Birdos:
"Stan died," my friend's text message read this evening. That a Cardinals fan tells another Cardinals fan that the franchise's greatest player has passed away by referring to that player by his first name shows the familiarity and love we have for Musial. Indeed, it's taken a lot of discipline for me to refer to Stan as "Musial" throughout this post.
I've only ever met The Man once, but to me and so many St. Louis fans he is simply Stan. He is a part of the Cardinals family and our love of him has been passed down through our own families the same as our love of baseball and the Cardinals. Musial was the ideal. He was everything we hope a Cardinal can be. And now The Greatest Cardinal Of Them All is no longer with us. I cried.
-bgh, Stan Musial, The Greatest St. Louis Cardinal Of Them All, Died Today
And another from VEB:
That's why all of us—even all of us who never saw Sportsman's Park larger than the diorama inside the bowling museum—knew him so well, and needed to. Why do we value all these things that don't make a baseball team any better? Why do we pretend an athlete's gait is a window on the soul? Why do we care, in St. Louis, about these ideals we can't quite name, that nobody can really live up to?
It's Stan Musial—it was, and it will continue to be, Stan Musial. Before he was a statue, and a harmonica-playing reminder of the things we've chosen as a fanbase to admire as pure and decent, he was just a guy. What made him worthy of the statue and all the standing ovations was that afterward—after 50 years of unceasing city-wide living-legend treatment—he was still just a guy.
- Dan Moore, Stan Musial: Here stands baseball's perfect warrior, baseball's regular guy