On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS February 4, 2013 # 422 Up next…Without an asterisk!
After further review…Now that the NFL season has concluded with Super Bowl XLVII, the NHL season finally underway, and we’re smack-dab in the middle of an NBA season, let’s talk baseball! This month each MLB T*E*A*M will send its pitchers and catchers to spring training with the balance of their squads reporting in early March, a notable exception being Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is currently rehabbing hip surgery performed last month.
What may also keep A-Rod away from his hot-corner spot is the recent allegation of his use of performance enhancing drugs. He is suspected of using PEDs in 2009 and 2012. PEDs played a major role in the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, which denied entry to Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens. Some have suggested an asterisk (*) be placed next to those names, if any were ever to be elected.
No asterisk will ever be required for Stan Musial. “Stan the Man” was elected in his first year of eligibility in 1969. He got the nod from 93.2% of voting members. Some wondered whom the other 6.8% were watching in the two decades Musial played. Many in those days treasured that quality they used to call “class”. Stan the Man was class personified. He played in 3,026 games in his MLB career (about as many games as Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky combined) and never got thrown out of a game. Never.
Musial played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals. His character stood tall. In 1952 against their rivals the Brooklyn Dodgers, Musial hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to win the game. As he rounded the bases, one of the umpires was gesturing for “time”; a ball had rolled on to the field just before that pitch. When the home plate umpire disallowed the homer, Stan said, “Well, there’s nothing that can be done about it”. He then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a triple off the center field wall, to score three runs and win the game.
Sportscaster Bob Costas observed, “He didn’t hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn’t hit in 56 straight games (as did DiMaggio). He stayed married to his high school sweetheart. All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being”. Musial died last month of natural causes at 92. He will be missed.
What legacy will you leave?