Musial has also
changed the unique stance that was his trademark. Remember the old crouch? Now
Musial stands closer to the plate, a change that gives him better control of
fast balls over the outside corner. He still crouches, but less markedly. His
stance remains unusual, but it is no longer radical.
concentrated when he hit, but Musial's concentration seems to have deepened
further. It must make up for what age has taken from his reflexes, and he now
plots his swings with great care.
Nobody around the
league has an easy explanation of Musial's great hitting in July, because there
is no easy way to explain great hitting by a washed-up 39-year-old ballplayer.
"Hell," Musial himself says, "just use that old line of
Slaughter's. Just say I never been away."
One night before
the Cardinals played the Braves, Charley Dressen, a man who has more
explanations than newspapermen have questions, agreed to study the revivified
Musial and report on what he saw. Musial lined one of Bob Buhl's inside
change-ups high into the right-field bleachers for a home run.
Dressen said later. "I know how to pitch to him."
always," Dressen said. "Change-ups."
"But he hit
the home run off the change."
change," Dressen said, cutting off further conversation.
who manages Cincinnati and once managed the Cardinals, took up the Musial
question several days later. "What can you say?" Hutchinson asked,
shrugging. "He's hitting like hell, that's all. He's hitting all kinds of
pitches, just like he used to."