On the day that the Cardinals honored Stan Musial with a sweet, sentimental ceremony at Busch Stadium, this year's team offered a tribute to The Man by leaving 3,630 men on base — or so it seemed.[...]Rick Hummel:
"Perfect," manager Tony La Russa said. "The greatest Cardinal of all, and one of the greatest of all time. Today was beautiful. The tribute was very well deserved ... we talked about it ... we wanted to play a game that Stan would enjoy. And as it turned out, we played a good game."
In addition to an abundance of glorious skill, Musial was a persistent and durable player who never cheated anyone with a lack of effort. He respected the game. And in this regard, the Cardinals did The Man proud on Sunday to edge the Rays.
The Cardinals rallied Sunday for their second last-bat victory in two days. But, even if they had lost, it would have been a good day at Busch Stadium. Every day Stan Musial is at the park is a good day.
Musial, the greatest Cardinal of them all, was honored before the game on what was proclaimed "Stan Musial Day.'' Fans in attendance received a replica of the nine-foot statue on Musial Plaza, which is on the newly renamed Stan Musial Drive. Those same fans rose in standing tribute as the 87-year-old Man was wheeled around the ballpark in a cart, and his No. 6 had been carved into the center-field greenery.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa gets excited the few times he gets to see Musial every year.
"... Once you get to know him, he's just as great off the field" as he was on it, La Russa said. "That combination not only is to be admired and respected, it is to be loved.
"He's an unbelievable person. It's a disappointment that we don't see him more. He really lifts everybody's spirits when he comes around. And he's like (Hall of Famer) Red Schoendienst. When they see something, they say something."
Musial never stops talking about how fortunate he was to have played in St. Louis for his whole career. After making some brief remarks to that effect Sunday, Musial left the microphone, only to return to salute longtime teammate Schoendienst, who was sitting behind him, and another return to note that his bad knees were a result of his having run out too many triples (177).