A Poem For Stan Musial

by John Lundberg
It may have snowed in Arizona last week, but, according to baseball, spring has already begun. Stephen Strasburg, one of the game’s young phenoms, took the mound on Saturday against the Mets, and the Cubs, well, even my Cubs have hope.

Down in Jupiter, Florida, the budding Cardinals’ season is shaping up to be, in part, a tribute to one of their all-time greats. Stan Musial died just over a month ago. He retired long before I was born, and being a noncontroversial figure, the media never made too much of a fuss about him.

Last week, Garrison Keillor featured a poem about Musial on The Writer’s Almanac. Simply titled “Musial,” it was written by George Bilgere, an English professor and St. Louis native. Bilgere’s father owned a local car dealership frequented by ballplayers, and the result is two of the most quintessentially American lines of poetry ever written:

My father once sold a Chevy
to Stan Musial, the story goes

It was enough to pique this poet’s interest in Musial. Dive into his statistics some time and you’ll find they’re otherworldly. He would have been a sabermetrician’s darling, if anyone had yet conceived of sabermetrics. He had a great batting eye, walking more than twice as often as he struck out, and when he made contact — which was almost always — he hit with power.

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