In our celebrity culture where it doesn't matter why you're famous, only that you are famous, we don't focus enough on true achievement and the untarnished. Musial's contemporaries, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, received more media attention than he did, but Stan never publicly expressed any bitterness. They were in larger media markets -- New York and Boston, respectively -- which may account for some of it, though it was in New York that Musial acquired his moniker "The Man." Sporting News reports that, "According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Musial earned 'The Man' nickname 'by (Brooklyn)
Dodgers fans for the havoc he wrought at Ebbets Field.'"
Sporting News quoted Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson: "Stan will be remembered in baseball annals as one of the pillars of our game. The mold broke with Stan. There will never be another like him."
On that one day in 2007, as I had lunch with my childhood hero, I was a kid again. For me, it was better than any politician I have met or dined with. He signed a baseball for me, for free. It sits encased on a shelf in my office.
In so many ways, on and off the field, Stan Musial was, indeed, "The Man.”
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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