Big Crowds Turn Out For Stan Musial Visitation - The Missourian: Sports

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Big Crowds Turn Out For Stan Musial Visitation

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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 11:35 am

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Standing outside the Cathedral Basilica as thousands filed inside to pay their respects, Stan Musial’s grandson was thankful.

“Just seeing all this,” Brian Schwarze said, “and I got to play catch with him.”

“I mean, he was my grandfather. But I really do believe I’m starting to understand somewhat what he meant to the whole community,” he said.

Many visitors seemed to treat Thursday’s six-hour public visitation as if it was Stan the Man’s final game day, decked out in team attire and ignoring bitter cold for the chance to get one last glimpse.

In an open casket, Musial was clad in the red jacket he and other Cardinals Hall of Famers wore for special occasions, a harmonica in his pocket and a red tie dotted with tiny Cardinals.

The same tie that retired high school teacher Randy Pierce proudly pointed out he was wearing, too.

“My wife for my last birthday gave me a big photo of President Obama giving Stan the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Pierce said. “It’s signed by Stan, so I’ve got the important one.”

Musial, a three-time National League MVP, seven-time batting champion and 24-time All-Star, died Saturday after years of declining health. He was 92.

Fans turned out in droves to pay respects to a superstar who never acted the part, always making time for one more autograph, or to shake one more hand.

“Sometimes, it was like ‘All right, Grandpa, we’ve got to get going,’” Schwarze said. “My mom would be yelling at him when she was a little kid like, ‘Time to go!’ and he was like ‘Hold on, I’ve got some fans still.’”

Family, close friends and perhaps some of baseball’s biggest names will be back at the cathedral for a funeral on Saturday. Thursday was for the fans.

A half-hour before the visitation, hundreds lined Lindell Boulevard leading to the steps of the cathedral. An hour into the six-hour visitation, a church spokeswoman said 1,400 people had filed through.

When a bell chimed once as the doors opened, 68-year-old Evelyn Bourisaw, dressed in a red coat, exclaimed, “Time to play ball!”

Among the first to go in were Audrey Kissel, 86, and Erma Bergman, 88. The two were kindred spirits of Musial, not only of his generation but also former ballplayers.

Kissel played second base and Bergman pitched in a women’s professional league during World War II, popularized in the movie “A League of Their Own.”

Both handed out personal baseball cards depicting them in uniforms that featured skirts and summarized achievements and listed nicknames — Kissel was known as “Pigtails” and Bergman as “Bergie.”

“He was a very lovely person,” Kissel said.

Don Raisin, who’s worked with Cardinal team mascot Fredbird since 1985, said one of his prized possessions is a ball autographed by Musial, Enos Slaughter and Terry Moore, who played in the outfield together.

“It was always exciting when you knew he was going to be at the ballpark,” Raisin said. “It’s not going to be the same on opening day.”

Rope lines steered mourners toward the casket in a corner of the church.

Myron Schumacher, 71, noted that he was born in 1941, the year Musial broke into the big leagues, and was at the original Busch Stadium in 1963 for Musial’s final game.

“He was amazing,” Schumacher said.

Retired car salesman Bill Sanders, 64, was like many fans, as taken with Musial’s good-natured ways as his considerable baseball prowess. Sanders noted that not once in a 22-year career did Musial get tossed out of a game.

“All of his statistics were absolutely staggering, plus he was a true gentleman,” Sanders said. “He even liked the umpires.”

Certainly his baseball accomplishments were plentiful: a .331 lifetime average, 475 homers and 3,630 career hits (1,815 at home and an equal number on the road).

He helped the Cardinals to three World Series championships in the 1940s and another after his playing days ended — he was general manager of the 1967 team that beat the Red Sox in seven games.

The GM job was short-lived, but Musial was a frequent figure at Busch Stadium, showing up for most opening days and many postseason games, sometimes playing the harmonica, always striking a pose of that unusual, corkscrew left-handed batting stance.

Though in ill health, Musial always perked up when he got to Busch Stadium. He smiled and waved during his last public appearance, a parade lap of the warning track before Game 4 of the NL championship series last fall.

“His fans always did give him energy,” Schwarze said. “He could turn it on.”

Even near death, the harmonica Musial learned to play while passing the time on long train trips during his career was another source of energy.

“He was playing the week before he passed — a lot better than I’ve ever played it,” Schwarze said.

Did he still play the “Wabash Cannonball?” ‘’Yes, absolutely,” Schwarze added. “He always said he knew more songs but I think he knew about six songs on the harmonica and had about six jokes.”

“The No. 6 really goes through his whole life.”

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at Union    7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20

%Washington vs. TBA    4 p.m.

%Borgia vs. Poplar Bluff    5:30 p.m.

%St. Clair vs. TBA    TBA

%Sullivan Shootout

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at Union    7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Francis Howell    7 p.m.

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia vs. Sullivan, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL