Fans welcome home Cardinals, remember Musial


Share
Posted Online: April 08, 2013, 5:44 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
JIM SALTER, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) Opening day, always a festive occasion in St. Louis, is a little melancholy this time around. There was no Stan Musial for the first time in many years.

The Cardinals' opener Monday against Cincinnati was the first game at Busch Stadium since Musial died in January at age 92 after years of declining health.

Pregame ceremonies were mostly a tribute to The Man. Musial's four children unveiled a marker on the left-field wall honoring their father his No. 6 inside a red circle with his signature across it. Fans stood, many with hats over their hearts, during a video tribute.

Even the national anthem paid homage to Musial's passion, since it was performed by harmonica players with the Gateway Harmonica Club, of which Musial was an honorary member.

Activities also included two pep rallies outside the stadium. Inside, the Budweiser Clydesdales circled the warning track followed by the parade of Hall of Famers in red Mustangs and wearing red blazers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Whitey Herzog. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by two members of the 2006 championship team, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds.

Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals, his 3,630 hits split evenly with 1,815 at home at 1,815 on the road. He won seven NL batting championships, three MVP awards and played on three World Series winners.

Musial was a revered figure in St. Louis as much for his kind and gentle spirit as for his baseball prowess, always smiling, always ready to pull the harmonica from his pocket.

Gary Leonard of St. Louis County stood outside the ballpark shortly before the game playing the harmonica in tribute to Musial, and wearing Musial jersey.

'It doesn't seem like a real opening day without him here,' Leonard said.

Johnathan Hart of St. Charles has been coming to opening day since Musial was still playing.

'No one says St. Louis like Stan,' Hart said. 'This is a happy day but a little sad.'

Even as his health deteriorated, Musial managed to make it to the ballpark every opening day and every postseason. His final appearance was prior to Game 4 of the last year's NL championship series against San Francisco, when the frail Musial rode a golf cart around the warning track before the game.

Since Musial's death, Missouri lawmakers have voted to name a new Mississippi River bridge under construction at St. Louis in his honor. The Illinois Legislature must also approve. A statue in his likeness already stands at the front of Busch Stadium.

The tributes aren't over. The Cardinals will wear a No. 6 patch honoring Musial all season. And at 'Stan Musial Night' on Friday, every fan will get a harmonica. During the seventh-inning stretch, they'll join together to play 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.'














 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)