Remembering Earl Weaver And Stan Musial

MLB Hall Of Famers Weaver (82) And Musial (92) Pass Away Saturday

Monday, January 21, 2013
- photo by contributed
Stan Musial and Earl Weaver couldn't have been much different in some ways, or much more alike in others. What these two sides of baseball's coin of competitive passion definitely had in common is that they were true icons, not only for their franchises but for the game itself.

The two Hall of Famers were unique fixtures in the game, and their passing on the same day Saturday dealt a double-dose of sadness to the sports world, perhaps not as much for lives cut short as out of reverence for lives devoted to baseball at the very highest level.

Saturday became the first day in history a pair of Hall of Famers passed away on the same day, with word in the morning of former Orioles manager Weaver's death at age 82 followed in the evening with the announcement that Cardinals legend Musial had passed away at age 92.  

These were two of the brightest stars in their respective fields -- Musial's hitting and Weaver's managing. While Musial marched consistently through 22 stellar seasons and beyond with a smile on his face, a powerful bat and the heart of a champion, Weaver's fiery personality and scientific mind ahead of its time often provided epic dirt-disturbing explosions on the field. Talk about opposites: Nobody played more games without an ejection than Musial with 3,026, and no American League manager had more ejections than Weaver with 97.

Both, however, were true geniuses at their craft for decades, even if their intensity manifested in different ways.

----- John Schlegel,

On Earl Weaver

George Will, columnist

“Earl Weaver understood the basic point of the Moneyball approach to baseball. Which is, people say baseball doesn’t have a clock. Earl Weaver understood it does have a clock and it has 27 ticks — they’re outs. And what you do is you run the game so as to maximize your chance of not making an out. Walks, on-base percentage, all the rest. Never bunt. You’ve got 27 outs, don’t give them away. So Earl was probably 30 years ahead of his time in his intuitive understanding of what Moneyball made explicit.”

Tom Boswell, Washington Post

“But in nine years of covering the Orioles beat, I saw another Weaver, one that doesn’t contradict the first, but rather broadens him. He didn’t open up often, but when he did, you were floored. He knew himself — why he was who he was and why he managed the way he did — as well as anyone I ever covered. We knew he had examined baseball and hadn’t missed much. But he’d also examined himself and analyzed in detail everyone around him, too.”

On Stan Musial

Tony La Russa, former Cardinals manager

Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa described Stan Musial as "the best that you can be as a person and a player. Most of it was just the way he treated people, to see the respect he gave, the courtesy, the care, the sense of humor," La Russa said of Musial's legacy. "That's how he was with everybody. And you think, 'I should be more like that.'"

David Schoenfield,

“There are four left fielders in major league history who stand out among all the rest. Three of them are three of the most exciting, singular players in the annals of the sport; they are also three of the most arrogant, churlish players in the game's history and -- depending on your opinion on such personalities -- most disliked.

The fourth was, simply, known as The Man.

Ted Williams was arguably the greatest hitter of all time. Barry Bonds became the greatest hitter since Williams. Rickey Henderson was the greatest power-speed combo ever, unless you give that honor to Bonds. It's easy to extract an image of them in play: Williams, with that beautiful uppercut swing, launching that home run in the 1941 All-Star Game, the last man to hit .400; Bonds, once the graceful two-way threat, already the best player in the game, turning into the beefy monster late in his career and putting up softball numbers; Henderson, in that crouch at home plate, annoying pitchers with his postage-stamp strike zone and then annoying them further by swiping second base ... and often third.”

Richard Justice,

For the last half-century or so, Musial has been arguably baseball's most beloved figure. In public, he heard simple things.

"You are the greatest."

"You were my dad's favorite player."

"My grandfather loved you."

"Your photo hangs in our home."

He heard those kinds of things for so much of his life that surely he knew the words that were coming before they were even spoken. But the thing that made Stan Musial special, the thing that really bonded him to his team and his city, is how he reacted.

He was a man of humility, a man of dignity and grace. He made the game look easy, with that lightning-quick, twisting swing and a long, smooth running stride.

Off the field, Musial did everything right. He smiled and shook hands and signed autographs and seemed to never forget that he'd been about the luckiest man on earth to find a place like St. Louis to call home.

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