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.

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 26

Union 54, Washington 14

*Borgia 45, Duchesne 7

*St. Clair 57, St. James 55 (2 OT)

*Pacific 40, Owensville 34

*Hermann 24, Sullivan 12

Cuba 74, Liberty Wentzville 7

Parkway West 20, Warrenton 7

Mark Twain 32, Wright City 18

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Softball

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington 7, Ft. Zumwalt S 2

North County 2, Union 1

Warrenton 16,  St. Clair 0

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Duchesne 7, Borgia 3

*Washington 4, Holt 2

*Pacific 15, St. Clair 0

*Owensville 7, New Haven 3

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 24

*Ft. Zumwalt East 8, Washington 7 (8 innings)

Pacific 11, Hermann 0

Valley Park 11, New Haven 1

Waynesville at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Borgia 16, Rosati-Kain 3

*Ft. Zumwalt E at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Union 9, Sullivan 1  

Windsor 5, Pacific 3 

St. James at Linn    5 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 26

*Ft. Zumwalt N at Washington    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Rolla Tny    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 27

Borgia, Hermann at Montgomery Co Tny    TBA

Owensville at Rolla Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Borgia at Trinity    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at De Soto    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Wright City    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Borgia at Union    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Rockwood Summit    4:30 p.m.

New Haven at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament

Washington def. Montgomery Co., 25-22, 25-14

Borgia def. Pacific, 25-13, 25-14

Washington def. Montgomery Co., 25-8, 25-14

Borgia def. Pacific, 25-13, 25-16

Pacific split with Montgomery Co., 25-9, 24-26

Borgia def. Washington, 25-16, 25-23

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament

Hermann def. Owensville 25-19, 25-10

New Haven def. Union, 25-15, 25-17

Union split with Hermann, 25-22, 12-25

New Haven def. Owensville, 25-9, 25-9

Union def. Owensville, 25-23, 25-22

New Haven def. Hermann, 25-21, 25-15

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Sullivan at Northwest    4:15 p.m.

*Jefferson def. ECC, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19

Thursday, Sept. 25

St. Clair def. Crystal City (Scores Unavailable)

Hermann Tournament

Consolation — Pacific def. Union, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20

Semifinal 1 — Borgia def. Hermann, 25-12, 25-20

Semifinal 2 — New Haven def. Washington, 23-25, 25-22, 26-24

Third-place match — Washington def. Hermann, 25-23, 25-15

Championship match — Borgia def. New Haven, 25-17, 25-23

Friday, Sept. 26

Crosspoint at Mississippi Valley    4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

%Northeastern Oklahoma at ECC    10 a.m. (Seed Tournament)

%Longview at ECC    11:30 a.m.

%Cottey at ECC    2:30 p.m.

Owensville at Chamois Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Union at Hillsboro    5 p.m.

Lafayette def. Borgia, 25-10, 25-15   

Washington at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

St. Clair def. Bourbon, 25-12, 25-11

Cuba at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Rolla    5:30 p.m.

ECC at Rend Lake    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4 p.m.

*Hermann at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Eureka at Washington    5 p.m.

*Union at St. James    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Sullivan at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Panthers Home School    5:30 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro 3, Union 1

Washington 0, Bayless 0

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*Pacific 1, St. James 0

*Borgia 2, St. Dominic 0

CYC Tny    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Warrenton at Sullivan    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*St. Charles at ECC    4 p.m.

Valley Park at Fulton SA    4:15 p.m.

#Thomas Jefferson at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m. (Pacific)

*Pacific 3, Union 0

Borgia 6, Sullivan 0

CYC Tny    TBA

Friday, Sept. 26

*Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Belle    5 p.m.

Crosspoint at Mississippi Valley    4:30 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 27

CYC Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 29

Northwest 2,  Pacific 1

*ECC at St. Louis (Florissant)    4:30 p.m.

*Duchesne 1, Borgia 0

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Fulton SA at John Burroughs JV    4:15 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    5 p.m.

*Sullivan at Pacific    5 p.m.

Calvery Lutheran at St. James    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    6:15 p.m.

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Wednesday, Sept. 24

GAC Meet — Ft. Zumwalt S 355, Ft. Zumwalt N 414, Holt 439, Washington 460, Wentzville Liberty 474

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News