- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
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 lefthander, 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 Giants 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 on 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 anymore 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 Aug. 25, a chauffeur in black livery was waiting for Musial, put at his service by John Taxin, proprietor of the Old Original Bookbinders, Musial's favorite dining spot in town. (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 lobster.
"No more training rules for you after this year," said Taxin. "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 in to the Cardinals' 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 strike call. He makes umpiring easy. If all ballplayers were Stan Musials, anybody in the United States could be a major league umpire."
Around noon on Aug. 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?"
"Why not?" said Musial.
Richie Ashburn, now a Philadelphia broadcaster, walked up to discuss a TV interview scheduled to go on in five minutes. It turned out that through a slipup nobody had bothered to tell Musial about it.