SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

RIP, Stan Musial and Earl Weaver

Very sad to note the passing of two baseball legends, the best Hall of Famer never to get the huge national hype outside his region, Stan Musial, and one of the best managers, ever, Earl Weaver. 

As to Musial, if you look up his numbers you'll proably wonder why he wasn't elevated to the same level of Baseball's Mount Rushmore as peers Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams or some who followed, such as Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle (he was cleary better than "The Duke").  The recent biography of him paints the picture of an outstanding player and a superstar who had the courage to be kind to everyone.  Look up his stats, read the book, and you'll feel compelled to argue that Musial is one of the ten best position players of all time (on a different note, if you were to look up Lefty Grove's stats, you'd probably feel compelled to argue that he was one of the best pitchers of all time, too). 

As for Weaver, his ejections probably eclipsed his accomplishments, and there's a famous one on YouTube of him arguing with umpire Bill Haller that is a classic (edge because of his comeback to Haller, the brother of former Giants' catcher and GM Tom Haller).  Yet, for all the histrionics, Weaver was a skilled manager, platooned well, won four pennants and a World Series. 

We probably won't see the likes of either anymore.  Musial was uncomplicated and dignified, not operating under a mystery of whether he was using a performance-enhancing drug or not, interacted well with the fans and the media and played in the same city for 22 years.  Weaver's antics probably wouldn't be tolerated today, even if the entertainment value is desperately needed, especially because of how long and sometimes antiseptic baseball games can be.  Both left their mark indelibly on the game; both will be missed.

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