Brother Stan “The Man” Musial, Beta Iota Hon. (California University of PA) died Saturday, January 19, 2013, in suburban St. Louis, MO. A native Donora, in southwestern Pennsylvania, Musial became associated with Sigma Tau Gamma through Past President Paul Pfeiffer, Pi ’35 (Indiana University of PA), a childhood friend who was one of his high school teachers.
Musial played for the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 seasons from 1941 to 1963; he missed the 1945 season due to his service in the Navy. Brooklyn Dodgers fans started calling Musial “that man” after he had repeatedly devastated their home team with outstanding play. St. Louis sports writer Bob Broeg picked up on the respect Dodgers fans had for Musial and referred to him as “The Man” in a post game story. The nickname stuck.
In this year when no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is notable that Musial was elected in his first year of eligibility, 1969. Musial played in 24 All-Star games, won three MVP Awards and wore three World Series Rings. He was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of Year in 1957 and the Sporting News Sportsman of the Decade for 1946-1956. He was the National LeagueÃ¢s MVP in 1943, 1946 and 1948. Upon his retirement he held 17 major league, 29 National League and nine All-Star game records.
On Feb. 15, 2011, Stan “The Man” Musial received the highest civilian honor in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was recognition of extraordinary character both on and off the field.
Red Schoendienst, was a teammate of Musial and a fellow Hall of Famer. The two roomed together for more than 10 years.
A lot of times we would go visit kids in hospitals whenever we were on the road,” Schoendienst once said. “He didn’t want publicity for it, and he didn’t do it to seek recognition or humanitarian awards. He just did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He enjoyed making other people happy and maybe give them a small ray of sunshine to brighten up their lives.
Musial played during a strenuous time as integration was taking place in baseball. He brought people together and helped ease some of the aggression that was present among many of the players. He also cared deeply for his fans, never turning anyone down for an autograph.
Musial was humble in every aspect of his life. He enjoyed 71 years of marriage with his wife Lil, who was his high school sweetheart. She passed away last year.
Musial became a member of Sigma Tau Gamma in 1962. At 41 he was still among the most acclaimed active major league players. He served on the selection committee of the Musial Sportsmanship Award. The permanent plaque honoring the recipients, with a bronze relief of “Stan the Man” at the center, was proudly displayed at his St. Louis restaurant.
Today that plaque is permanently displayed in the Millsap Headquarters Building.
Eric Hillman, Alpha Lambda ’83 (Concord University), a sports leader in his own right, sponsors a scholarship for the recipient of the sportsmanship award. Now known as the Musial/Hillman Sportsmanship Award it is presented each year to a collegiate member of Sigma Tau Gamma who excels not only in intercollegiate athletics, but is also a leader in the classroom and community and typifies the selfless traits exemplified by Musial.