And one more plaque
Later, Musial was given still another plaque. It was presented at home plate by the old major league pitcher, Walter (Duster) Mails, now with the Giants' front office. As plaque English goes, it was not bad: "Batting champion, distinguished American, admired friend. All baseball has been enriched by his long association with the game. In grateful acknowledgment this plaque is presented by the San Francisco Giants."
As Mails finished, a few in the stands stood, looked around self-consciously and almost sat down. But before they could, a few others joined them, then a few more, and suddenly all of the 24,000 in the park were on their feet waving and shouting for the slender, capless and windblown figure at home plate, where the bright California sunshine picked up the red lettering and insignia on the front of his gray uniform.
Billy O'Dell, a left-hander, beat the Cardinals that afternoon and Musial did not play. But as he headed across the field at the end of the game, by chance he encountered the entire Giant bullpen contingent at home plate. All of them stopped and shook his hand.
Musial and Schoendienst did not ride the bus back to the hotel. Ever since Musial became a superstar it has been an annual custom for him and Schoendienst to have dinner and a drink as guests of Horace Stoneham during the last series the Cards play with the Giants. So they joined Stoneham and drove to his apartment.
"Usually," recalled Musial, "he has me early in the final series, and for some reason the next day I seem to get about four or five hits. I figured I'd be playing in Tuesday night's game, so I called Mr. Stoneham Monday and suggested we have dinner that night. He told me, 'No, you come out on Wednesday.' I said, 'But, Horace, we don't play here any more after that.' 'I know,' he told me. I guess he remembered the time in New York when he took me to dinner the night before a doubleheader. The next day I hit five home runs in the two games."
When the Cardinals arrived at the Philadelphia airport late on the afternoon of August 25, a chauffeur in black livery was waiting for Musial, put at his service by John Taxin, proprietor of the Old Original Bookbinders (there are two restaurants in Philadelphia bearing the Bookbinder name). Musial sent his thanks to Taxin but told the chauffeur he'd ride the bus to the Warwick Hotel along with the rest of the players. That night, with Schoendienst, he went for dinner to Bookbinders. As he did twice more while in Philadelphia, Musial ordered steamed clams and a pound-and-a-half chicken lobster.
"This," said Taxin, "is the last time you'll have to confine yourself to a little lobster like that. No more training rules for you after this year. Next year I'll step you up to a three-pounder and if you can't come here to get it, I'll send it to you wherever you are."
Before Friday night's game with the Phillies, Umpire Ken Burkhart dropped into the Cardinal dressing room to wish Musial well. Later, in the corridor outside, Burkhart said: "In seven years he has never even turned his head to look at me when I've been behind the plate. I've never known him to kick to anyone on a ball or strikecall. He makes umpiring easy. If all ballplayers were Stan Musials, anybody in the United States could be a major league umpire."
Around noon on August 31, as Musial, halfway into his uniform, sat smoking one of his cigarillos and reading a paper, Dizzy Dean came by. "Stan, podner," said Dean, "how about going on with me for a pregame show tomorrow?"