Musial played in 24 All-Star games, topped the .300 mark 18 times and won seven National League batting titles and three MVPs with his famed corkscrew stance and his ringing line drives. Musial is one of a handful of men to win three MVP Awards (Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Barry Bonds, Jimmie Foxx and Mike Schmidt are the others) AND he finished second four times.
When he retired, he had the major league record for total bases, and extra-base hits (he is now second, having been surpassed by Aaron in both categories), and the National League record for runs batted in, total hits, runs scored, home runs, and consecutive games played. He also has the remarkable distinction of being one of the few players to ask for (and receive) a pay cut, from $100,000 to $80,000. On January 21st, 1960, Musial made the unusual request, saying that he had been overpaid in 1957 and 1958, and his salary should be cut, based on his performance in 1959.
Signed as a pitcher when he was seventeen, Musial was 15-8 in two seasons with Williamson, West Virginia, but the scouting report filed on the young southpaw recommended his release because he was wild and inconsistent. Nevertheless, he was sent to Daytona Beach as a pitcher for the 1940 season and, under the tutelage of former White Sox great Dickie Kerr, he compiled an 18-5 record. Kerr, who often had as few as 15 players on his roster, also played Musial in the outfield - Stan the Man hit .352.
Late in the season, he made a diving catch in the outfield, crashing on his left shoulder, and the consequent injury finished him as a pitcher. Musial was convinced by Kerr to remain in baseball as an outfielder. The next year he ripped through Class C and the International League before hitting .426 in a September call-up with the Cardinals.
The lefthanded-hitting Musial had good speed and was famous for his compressed, closed batting crouch, from which he appeared to be peering at the pitcher around a corner. He won his first NL batting title in his second full year and led the NL in hits six times, doubles eight times, triples five times, and runs five times.
"I throw him four wide ones, then I try to pick him off first."
Preacher Roe, when asked about his strategy for getting Musial out
"The key to hitting for high average is to relax, concentrate, and don't hit the fly ball to center field."
"When a pitcher's throwing a spitball, don't worry and don't complain, just hit the dry side like I do."
"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away."
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