News broke last night that our beloved hometown baseball hero, Stan Musial, also known as ‘Stan the Man’, passed away at the age of 92. For Cardinal’s fans, and those who grew up following his career, this was bittersweet news. For me, it wasn’t because I personally knew the man, or even knew a lot about his career (I had to ask my husband, who was eager to break down his baseball stats, career home runs, RBIs, blah, blah, blah, for me etc.) Impressive career? Absolutely. He played baseball with passion and conviction. But one stat I thought outweighed all of his on-field accolades and accomplishments, which really spoke to me, but seemed to be a mere blip in his bio, was this: He was married to his high school sweetheart Lillian for 71 years. 71 years! Where’s the medal for that, I thought? Where’s the parade? This fact spoke more to the man’s character (and let’s be honest, his patience as well) than anything he accomplished on the field.
In a day and age, and especially this past week, where we have sat, watched, read and even confusedly re-read, how sports figures choose cheating over hard work, and money, medals and fame have come to define success, it’s nice to know that Mr. Musial was one such man who lived his life, both on and off the field, with the simple attributes that we as parents hope to instill in our kids: integrity, honesty, passion, grace, and a sense of humor. We need more Mr. Musial’s in our world.