Baseball’s “Perfect Knight” Stan Musial Dies at 92
(CNN) — Baseball Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial has died, according to his former team.
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.”
Musial died Saturday evening at his Ladue, Missouri, home surrounded by family, the Cardinals said in a statement.
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 hit above .300 17 times during his 22-year career — all 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.
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 also stood out for his grace and sportsmanship — having never been ejected once by an umpire. In his retirement ceremony, 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 carer, 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.
Musial was active in the community, contributing to causes such as the USO, the Senior Olympics, the Boy Scouts and Covenant House.
“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.”
Musial also stood tall outside eastern Missouri. He served between 1964-1967 as chair 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.”
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