baseball writers who watched Stan Musial play baseball for almost a quarter of
a century engaged a sculptor named Carl Mose to cast Old No. 6 in bronze. Then
someone composed an inscription for the pedestal:
BASEBALL'S PERFECT WARRIOR;
BASEBALL'S PERFECT KNIGHT.
The shoulders are
too broad. The torso is too thick. The work smacks of the massive statuary that
infests the Soviet Union. It misses the lithe beauty of The Man.
"I saw the
sculptor when he was working on it," Musial said. "I told him I never
looked that broad. He said it had to be that broad because it was going to be
against the backdrop of a big ball park. He missed the stance, but what kind of
man would I have been if I'd complained. The writers were generous to put it
up. The sculptor did his best. Look, there's a statue of me in St. Louis while
I'm still alive."
A pregnant woman,
armed with an autograph book, charged. "Write for my son Willie," she
commanded. Musial nodded, said. "Where ya from?" and signed with a
lean-fingered, practiced hand.
you," the pregnant woman said. "Willie is coming soon. After he gets
here and learns to talk, I'm sure he'll thank you, Mr. Musial."
Inside the round
stadium, the Cardinals were losing slowly in the wet Mississippi Valley heat.
The final score would be Cincinnati 13, St. Louis 2. We had left after the
fourth inning when baseball's perfect knight passed his threshold of anguish
over the bad game being played by the home team.
To reach most old
ballplayers, even millionaire old ballplayers like Hank Greenberg, you simply
call their homes around dinner time. A pleased, remembered voice comes through
the phone. "I had a good day playing tennis. How've you been? Who've you
been seeing lately? Say, if you're ever in town, come over and we can talk
about the old days."
To reach Musial,
you call the office of the resort and restaurant corporation called Stan Musial
& Biggie's, Inc. When I did, a secretary said crisply but politely,
"I'm sorry, but Mr. Musial is on a goodwill tour of Europe. He'll be back
briefly in two weeks. Then he's flying to the Montreal Olympics. We'll try to
fit you in, but could I have your name again and could you tell me what this is
in reference to?"