Sunday, January 23, 2022

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats: Stan Musial


What a great card. The color photos, the batting helmet - this looks like it could be the 1970s or 1980s, a very modern look for an old-time player.

The player: Musial was "Player of the '50s" for this set, a deserved title, but Musial was so great he could have been a credible "Player of the '40s" as well. Between 1941 and 1963 Musial played in 3,026 games, hitting .331 with 475 HR and 1,951 RBI. His Navy service in 1945 kept him from reaching 500 HR and 2,000 RBI. A 20-time All Star, Musial won seven batting titles. It wasn't until 1959, at the age of 38, that he hit under .300 for a season. He scored over 100 runs a year from 1943 to 1954; topped 200 hits six times (and won hit crowns in two other seasons) and had ten seasons of 100+ RBI. He was a three-time MVP and helped the Cardinals win three World Series as a player.

The man: By all accounts Musial was an even better human being than he was a ballplayer. He was generous with his time and friendship in the St. Louis area, owning a restaurant with local restaurateur Biggie Garagani for decades, showing up every day to greet customers. He was one of the first players to stop advertising tobacco, and was credited by Jackie Robinson as one of the most supportive opposing players he faced. (When Musial was in high school in Donora, PA, he had a Black teammate and friend named Buddy Griffey, whose son and grandson went on to some impressive major league careers themselves.) In 1960 presidential candidate John F. Kennedy reached out to Musial to campaign for him, and the two developed a friendship. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson named Musial his physical fitness advisor, a role he held until taking on the GM role for the Cardinals in 1967. Musial oversaw a world championship but felt the role wasn't for him and he resigned after the season, still the only person to win a World Series in his only season as GM. Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011. Two years later he passed away at the age of 92.

My collection: I do not have any playing-days cards of Musial. His last card as an active player was 1963 Topps #250.


  1. Growing up listening to old radio shows on cassette, the first time I heard his name was on the spots that he used to do for Wheaties. Even to this day, whenever I hear his name, those commercials are the first thing that I think about.

  2. I considered collecting vintage cards of Musial (big fan of guys who hit for average), but just never got around to it. If prices continue to soften back down to pre-pandemic levels then I might pick up a few graded ones.