Some shards of memory gleam back from long ago with a special sparkle that keeps them ever fresh in mind. For my brother Mark and me, a cluster of such memories assembled one hot summer evening, 27 August 1954, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. We had been captivated by bubble-gum baseball cards and Harry Caray’s exciting radio broadcasts of Cardinal games. For months we had been begging our parents to take us to our first big-league game.
The magic evening arrived. Alas, the Brooklyn Dodgers won the game 8–4, but we were hooked. Our hero, then and since, was the Cardinals’ right fielder, Stan Musial. The product of the industrial town of Donora in western Pennsylvania, he was by then an established major-league star and had settled in St. Louis to stay.
It was there that he died early this year at the age of 92. A thoroughly decent man, he had endeared himself to hundreds of thousands of individuals, by both his hitting and his down-to-earth approachability. Even the fans in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field were admiring. They gave him the nickname “Stan the Man.”