Battleline: Dark Day For Baseball - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: Dark Day For Baseball

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:00 am | Updated: 1:33 pm, Wed Jan 23, 2013.

Revered and respected.

Stan Musial, despite his death Saturday at the age of 92, remains the icon of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise.

In an era of controversy in the game, Musial remained one of baseball’s true gentlemen.

Visitation will be held Thursday from 2-8 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis. The private funeral Mass is set for Saturday and the procession will travel from there to Busch Stadium to lay a wreath at the base of the Stan Musial Statue.

“I never heard anybody say a bad word about him, ever,” Willie Mays said in a statement released by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The baseball world had universal respect for Stan The Man, and that even includes fans of the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and other old National League rivals.

The story, told many times, goes that it was the Brooklyn fans who gave him his nickname, “Uh, oh. Here comes the man again; here comes the man.”

Musial wasn’t flashy, he wasn’t controversial, but he was darned good at what he did.

Playing for four pennant winners, three which won World Series titles, Musial set a number of marks, holding 55 records when he retired at the age of 43 in 1963 after playing in 22 seasons.

Musial’s No. 6 was the first number retired by the Cardinals, the ultimate sign of respect by the organization.

Musial wasn’t a power hitter, but could smack the long ball credibly ending with 475 home runs in his career.

Musial was the National League’s all-time leader in hits when he left the game at 3,630 with half of them coming at home and half on the road. His final hit, a single against Cincinnati in 1963, went past the Reds’ rookie second baseman, Pete Rose. Rose went on to become the career hits leader near the end of his career.

Those who never got to see Musial play during his career have heard the exploits and have seen the statues at Busch Stadium. Musial always remained close to the Cardinals after his retirement. He was general manager of the 1967 World Series champions and remained in the organization after that.

And many remembered the gregarious man who would pull out his harmonica and play tunes such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” which he even performed at the White House.

Many probably don’t know that Musial originally was a pitcher when he was signed out of Donora, Pa. By 1940, his hitting skills were put to good use and Musial roamed the outfield when not throwing. But an injury after a fall while playing Class D ball changed his direction and Musial became a full-time hitter.

The Man was everything that baseball was supposed to be — dignity, honor and grace — the antithesis of how the game is viewed now after the recent Hall of Fame voting on the steroid-era players. If baseball is to remain America’s Pastime, it needs more Musials and less controversy.

Musial’s best season was 1948, when he led the National League in 10 categories, including batting average (.376) and RBIs (131). His 39 home runs left him one behind Johnny Mize and Ralph Kiner for the league lead. With one more dinger, he would have won the Triple Crown.

During that year, the Cardinals signed a second baseman out of Beaumont High School, Earl Weaver.

Weaver, who made his name managing the Baltimore Orioles (who had been the St. Louis Browns prior to their move) also died Saturday while on the Orioles’ fantasy cruise in the Caribbean Sea.

As Musial was one of the game’s great players, Weaver was one of its top tacticians. Weaver led the Orioles to four pennants and one World Series title between two stints as manager (1968-82 and 1985-86).

His philosophy of “pitching, defense and the three-run homer” has been followed by just about everyone and epitomizes what we would call “American League baseball.”

Weaver pioneered keeping and using situational statistics to set up favorable matchups. He also was a believer in the platoon system. Both have been copied by many. “Weaver on Strategy” is considered required reading for any prospective baseball leader.

Unlike Musial, Weaver could have a fiery side which often flared in games. He was ejected from at least 90 games while arguing with umpires. The fans usually got a lot of enjoyment from watching Weaver get into one of his heated discussions.

Weaver is revered in Baltimore, where they retired his No. 4 following his initial retirement in 1982.

Yes, Saturday certainly was a sad day for the baseball world.

/sports

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

Thursday, Dec. 18

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

Pattonville vs. Farmington, 4 p.m.

Sullivan vs. Owensville, 5:30 p.m.

Principia vs. Pattonville, 7 p.m.

Borgia vs. Cuba, 8:30 p.m.

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    TBA

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.

Washington at Kennedy    6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Washington at Lindbergh    4 p.m.

*Conference Games

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