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Defending Stan

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 2:03 PM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
There is the strong point of view that, if someone is crying out for attention by being inflammatory and/or a person that would be ejected from polite society, you should ignore them and they'll go away.  Strong, sound advice.

If it was only about Murray Chass and his half-done blog entry, I'd probably do that.  It's what should be done.  Ignore them, right.

Blast it, though, it's about Stan Musial.  And Cardinal fans just can't be quiet when someone goes after Stan.  Come after bloggers, come after the organization even.  But Stan Musial?  A man that is as universally beloved as any figure in sports?  That's where you want to plant your flag?

That can't go unanswered.

There will be better defenses than mine.  Craig Calcaterra already has a good response up at Hardball Talk.  Lone Star Ball has weighed in.  I expect Cardinal blogs will buzz about this some as well in the coming days.  That said, this bugs me immensely and, guess what?  I've got a place to write about it.  Chass isn't the only one that can throw up a blog post.

Chass accuses Musial of being a racist and that he targeted people that jumped to an outlaw Mexico league back in the 1940s.  Neither accusation has much more than the comments of former union head Marvin Miller behind them, and as Calcaterra states, Chass's ability to write what Miller actually said seems to be questionable.  There's no smoking gun, there's no new evidence.  Chass just apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Even if you took the stories at face value, though, what is there?  Let's look at the racism charge.  Apparently Curt Flood once went to a restaurant that Musial owned and was turned away, with the person doing so saying it came "from the owner."

You really think Musial would have turned away one of his teammates?  The man that, as even Chass points out, was lauded by his black contemporaries as a fair and honest man.  We've heard the stories about him playing cards with the black All-Stars, more to be with them and make them feel at ease than because he knew how to play.  

When the hotel in Florida wouldn't allow black players, the Cardinals bought a hotel so that the team could be together.  Stan was one of those that could have stayed at his own place somewhere, but instead he made the visible statement of staying with the club at the hotel.

The story of Stan Musial going out of his way to apologize to a black pitcher after his teammates had yelled a racial comment from the bench while Stan was at the plate.  Teammates like Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Bill White have never said a word against Stan, and you know an outspoken guy like Gibby would have said something at some point if there had been anything to it.

As for the whole Mexican League thing, look, do you really think Stan Musial was making waves on any sort of committee?  Even without the merits of the issue, merits that did exist when you talked about people jumping out of their contracts at that time, Musial never was an activist leader.  The owners used him for cover and legitimacy.  Even if Stan argued that point until he was blue in the face, they'd not have listened to him a bit.

Besides, why should he defend those that did what he wouldn't do?  Musial had enough integrity to honor what he had signed, even with huge amounts of money being thrown at him from a rival league.  He's supposed to then see to it that the jumpers get the same benefits?

Stan Musial has made a lifetime of being a classy individual worthy of being a role model.  He stopped smoking because he didn't want to set a bad example.  It's too bad some irate blogger, who apparently can't handle that there's a guy on a pedestal, wants to try to ruin what Musial termed "the greatest day of his life."

Last summer, it was a slogan.  Today, it's a reality.  I stand for Stan.

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

I can't say that I completely understand Chass' post. I went looking for it. It seems disjointed and without a point. He gives an example of potential racism from Musial (which he also reports has two variations to it, which to me disputes its validity) and then he gives examples that show he might not be racist. Then he goes on to talk about a business decision for players who abandoned the major leagues to play in another league.

Until something much more concrete than a story that has a few variations comes to light, it has nothing to stand on. I wonder if Musial snubbed him at some point in the past, otherwise I see no reason to even write that post.

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