Three aging sports stars bowed out last week, and one, unbowed, elected to stay in. We salute all four of them. Maurice Richard, the fiery, 39-year-old Rocket who has scored 626 goals, finally has been convinced by injuries and age that he should hereafter promote ice hockey from the sidelines. Amos Alonzo Stagg, labeled on sports pages "The Grand Old Man of Football," also called it quits as volunteer advisory coach for Stockton College, California. "For the past 70 years I have been a coach," Mr. Stagg wrote. "At 98 years of age, it seems a good time to stop." Lou Groza, known as "The Toe" in Cleveland and throughout pro football, decided after 10 National League seasons and a record number of field goals (131) that a sore back made it advisable, at 36, to yield to the bright young men of the Cleveland Browns.
Meanwhile, Stan Musial, admired in St. Louis and throughout baseball as "The Man," decided—at the same age as the Rocket—that he would try for at least one more World Series chance.
The sports scene must be impoverished by these three departures. But a decision to go when the going is good is difficult for the best men in every walk of life. Sport also gains when its top stars reveal moral and mental maturity, when they prove that humility can be combined with intense competitiveness.
As for Stan Musial, we hope his decision is wise. Maybe the game does owe him one last big year.