For a Cubs fan to praise a Cardinal this highly is not easy, and speaks volumes about the player. It's not that Musial was so great, but (playing far from the East Coast, and for a comparatively small market team), he's probably one of the most underrated of the All Time Greats.
His lifetime batting average was a remarkable .331. That's the 30th best in major league history. He had 3,630 hits -- which is the 4th most ever. He drove in 1,951 runs -- the 7th most by any player in the history of baseball. He hit 475 home runs.
And by all accounts he was one of the nicest players ever in the game, something impressive under any condition, but rare among superstars. When Musial died this past January at the age of 92, Willie Mays released a statement, "I never heard anyone say a bad word about him -- ever."
(In 1959, he had his worst season, batting only .255. And he himself asked the team to cut his salary by 20%!)
My favorite quote about Musial though came from Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine when talking about how difficult it was pitching to Musial and trying to get him out. ""I've had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third.'
A few years ago, when Albert Pujols was in the midst of his remarkable streak of incredible years for the same Cardinals, some people started calling, "El Hombre," their Spanish-language homage to him being the new "Man" in St. Louis. But Pujols -- who not only had a great sense of history, but also knew Musial -- cut all such talk short and told people to stop. "There is only one 'Man' in St. Louis," he said.
Here's that Man.