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St. Louis 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:
HERE STANDS BASEBALL'S PERFECT WARRIOR;
HERE STANDS 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.
"Thank 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?"