Tag: Stan Musial

MLB Playoff Race: Players Getting Hot at the Right Time

There are just six days left in the 2013 regular season, and while four teams have clinched their divisions, there is still a lot left to be decided in the season’s final weekend.

As October approaches, a few teams in the playoff hunt are vying for better playoff position: Three teams in the National League Central − Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati − are separated by just two games, while one game separates three teams for two American League wild-card berths.

It’s no secret getting hot late is a good thing. And luckily for these few teams, each has a player getting hot at the right time.

Let’s take a look.

Aroldis Chapman, closer: The St. Louis Cardinals have won two championships recently despite losing their season-opening closer both times. And the importance of having a proven closer has certainly taken a hit in the last few seasons.

But for the Cincinnati Reds, having Aroldis Chapman heading into October has paid dividends and will continue to throughout the post-season.

Chapman has posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 38 saves and a 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings ratio in 2013. When the Reds have a close lead in the ninth inning, Chapman has been consistent when called for the final three outs — and he delivers, often with triple-digit fastball velocity.


In 2013, Chapman has limited his walks, dropping from 7.4 walks-per-nine-innings rate in 2011 to 3.4 in 2013. His overpowering two-pitch arsenal coupled with few errors has produced an air of inevitability for the Reds when he takes the mound in the ninth.

Needless to say, Chapman is proof having an established closer in the ninth works. The likes of Keith Foulke and Brad Lidge helped the Red Sox and Phillies win the World Series in 2004 and 2008. Chapman will certainly aim to do the same.

Matt Carpenter, second base: Matt Carpenter is not having a pretty good year — he’s having an MVP-caliber year.

Just two days ago, Carpenter belted a fifth-inning double versus the Brewers to bring his 2013 doubles total to 54 — surpassing Stan Musial for the most doubles by a left-handed hitter in the club’s history. It also put the Cardinals two games ahead in the NL Central.

In 2013, Carpenter has seen the ball arguably better than anyone in baseball. And his role as the Cardinals’ lead-off hitter, coupled with his multi-position eligibility, makes him one of the league’s most valuable players heading into the post-season.

He is fifth in batting average (.324), ninth in OBP (.397), and first in both hits (197) and runs scored (124) in the MLB.

What’s equally impressive is how productive Carpenter has been throughout the month of September. Carpenter has batted .396 with 24 runs and a .481 OBP. Not to mention he is the leader in both runs scored and hits during this span.

Not only does he collect hits, he has an uncanny ability to string them together. His ability to wear down pitchers and produce on a consistent basis is one of the few reasons the Cardinals rank fourth in batting average.

But consider this: Carpenter is three hits away from becoming the first Cardinals player to reach 200 hits in a single season since Albert Pujols. And he has done so while adapting to full-time duty at second base.

And if the Cardinals are to make a playoff push come October, Carpenter will have to sustain his production.

Alexi Ogando, pitcher: Ogando’s presence has certainly been felt throughout 2013.

The Dominican Republic native is 7-4 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. More impressive has been how dependable Ogando has been in his last few starts.

In the month of September, Ogando has performed well in playoff-implicating games versus stiff competition and has been the Rangers’ lone bright spot.

Versus Kansas City last Sunday, the right-hander pitched tossed seven scoreless frames and fanned five batters against a team that was threatening to jump Texas in the playoff race.

He is 2-0 with a .50 ERA and 14 strikeouts in two starts this month.

Fittingly enough, Ogando will take the mound this Friday versus the Angels — a team he has been largely successful against — which could play a deciding role in the Rangers’ post-season positioning. Chances are, Ogando will prove his worth in yet another heightened contest.

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St. Louis: Stan "The Man" Musial Represented All That Was Good About Baseball



Those are the first two things I thought of when I heard about Stan Musial‘s passing this evening. Being from the Midwest, I respected his relationship with the Cardinals organization and how popular of a team he made the Cardinals, even though they weren’t flashy or in a large market.

Musial’s strength was hitting, where he was a seven-time National League batting champion and led the Cardinals to three World Series titles. Musial played all of his 22 seasons in St. Louis and continued to have a close relationship with the team after his career was over—including a stint as GM when the Cardinals won another World Series in 1967.

Musial was always appreciated by Cardinals fans but I don’t think the modern fans truly understood how special he was until their most recent superstar, Albert Pujols, left for a larger market and more money. Players as loyal as Musial are a rare breed.  While most tributes over the next few days will be focusing on what a great player Musial was, I believe what made him so special was the type of person he was.

Fans from St. Louis have talked about how revered Musial was and that he was what an athlete should be. Musial always acted in a way that showed he was grateful for the opportunity to play baseball. Unfortunately more often than not, there are athletes who expect people to cater to their every need. I personally have encountered some of these athletes and it’s sad that they don’t realize how lucky they truly are.

Musial realized that.  He stood for a time that was great for baseball and was scandal-free. As more time passes, fans will start to forget about the players of the past and what a mark they left on baseball. Musial owned several records when he retired but I believe that he only cared about contributing to the Cardinals success.

Baseball lost a giant of a man today who represented all the good things about playing baseball and understood the responsibility of being a star athlete.

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Stan Musial: Remembering Hall of Famer’s Greatest Career Accomplishments

Baseball legend Stan Musial passed away Saturday at the age of 92 (via a St. Louis Cardinals news release). The Hall of Famer spent his entire career (1941-1944, 1946-1963) with the St. Louis Cardinals. Following his retirement, he spent time in the Cardinals front office before retiring from the game altogether.

Following his retirement, Musial stayed very connected to the Cardinals organization. He’s beloved by not only the St. Louis community, but the entire community of baseball fans. Musial leaves a legacy as one of the best baseball players in history. His list of accomplishments can be matched by very few.

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Stan Musial: Baseball’s Most Forgotten and Underrated Superstar?

Quick, name the top five overall position players in baseball history.

Now, name the top ten overall position players in baseball history.

Did Stan Musial’s name appear anywhere in your top ten?  For most people, the answer would be no. 

Most people will say the top ten overall position players are some order of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Joe Dimaggio, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Honus Wagner and Rogers Hornsby with maybe Rickey Henderson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Mickey Mantle and many others thrown in.

Would it surprise you that Stan Musial belongs in the top ten position players of all-time? 

How about the top eight or top seven? 

What if I told you that an argument could even be made that he belongs in the top six?

Here are five players’ stats; let’s see how you would rank them one through five:

Player A:  .305 batting average, .374 OBP, .555 Slugging Percentage, .928 OPS, 155 OPS+

Player B:  .327 batting average, .391 OBP, .466 Slugging Percentage, .858 OPS, 150 OPS+

Player C:  .331 batting average, .417 OBP, .559 Slugging Percentage, .976 OPS, 159 OPS+

Player D:  .302 batting average, .384 OBP, .557 Slugging Percentage, .941 OPS, 155 OPS+,

Player E:  .325 batting average, .398 OBP, .579 Slugging Percentage, .977 OPS,  155 OPS+

Without having any further stats or player descriptions to go on, I would rank them in the following order:  Player C, Player E, Player A, Player D then Player B. 

Who are these players? 

Player A is Hank Aaron, Player B is Honus Wagner, Player C is Stan Musial, Player D is Willie Mays and Player E is Joe Dimaggio.  Does this mean he’s better than those four other players?  Not necessarily, but it does mean he should always be in the discussion and when discussing all-time ranking, he should at least be in the same neighborhood.

Why is Stan Musial seemingly forgotten and underrated everywhere except in St. Louis? 

I’m not exactly sure; all he did was put up the following stats in 22 years of playing baseball:

Three MVPs (and six other top-5 finishes), 20 time All-Star, 3026 games, .331 batting average, .417 OBP, .559 Slugging Percentage, .976 OPS, 159 OPS+, 475 HRs, 1951 RBIs, 3630 Hits, 1599 BBs and 696 Ks.

Musial was probably the most consistent hitter in baseball history. 

If you look at the stats of most hitters in baseball history, you will see a difference (sometimes a huge difference) between hitting at home or hitting on the road, hitting during the day and hitting at night; this is not the case for Stan. 

He had 1815 hits at home and 1815 hits on the road, batted .336 at home and .326 on the road,  and batted .340 in day games and .320 in night games.  He was a power hitter that could hit for average and had a great eye and was average/above average defensively.

The reason I believe Musial is underrated and “forgotten” is he wasn’t flashy.  He never led the league in HRs, he wasn’t a speed demon, he wasn’t a wizard with the glove; all he did was everything you want a player to do—do his job well and do it the same everyday, everywhere for his entire career.

Where would I rank Stan Musial all-time? 

I believe he is seventh

The top five players (Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Mays and Cobb) all had one or two parts of their game that were the best ever (power, defense etc) and it makes it hard to rank Musial above them.  The only player you could argue Musial was better than in my list would be Dimaggio (I have him sixth) but I think Dimaggio takes a slight edge; but that’s an article for another day.

My hope is that now if you’re asked who the top 10 players of all-time in baseball history, you remember to include Stan “The Man” Musial somewhere in your list.

What do you think?  Is Musial underrated or “forgotten”, if so why do you think that’s so?  Is he a top 10 player of all-time?  Please comment with your thoughts below.

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Stan Musial, Bill Russell Presented with Medal of Freedom by President Obama

The St. Louis Cardinal’s Hall of Famer Stan “The Man” Musial, along with Boston Celtic legend Bill Russell, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian of the United States can receive for making an exceedingly great contribution to the interests of our country.

Stan Musial was one of the best baseball players of all time and played in the MLB for 22 years. Along with his service to the league, Musial also served his country in the Navy during World War II.

After his service to both baseball and country, Musial has spent the rest of his life helping those in the St. Louis area. He is a true leader.

Along with his astounding 11 NBA Championships, Bill Russell was also the first African American head coach in the NBA.

Furthermore, Russell led the United States men’s basketball team to a gold medal in the 1956 Summer Olympics.

Along with these two great athletes, 13 other individuals received the award from the President.

Some of the other recipients were George H. W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Yo-Yo Ma and Warren Buffet.

When President Obama spoke of the recipients, he was quoted as saying that they are “the best of who we are and who we aspire to be.”

To spend your whole life working to be the best in a professional sport is one thing. But to then, after you are retired, continue to inspire and be apart of a community is something else altogether.

Working to see that future generations grow to help this country not only showcases the greatness Stan Musial and Bill Russell encompass, but it reveals how genuine they are as individuals.

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Stan Musial’s Unforgettable Doubleheader Against the New York Giants

At the conclusion of play on May 1, 1954, the New York Giants were in fifth place with an 8-7 record, but in the closely bunched National League, the future World Champions were but a single game out of the top spot.

The Giants traveled from Chicago, where they had split a two game series with the Cubs to St. Louis, to face the Cardinals in a Sunday twin bill. It would turn out to be a doubleheader that would go down in baseball history.

Stan Musial drew a walk off Giants’ starter, lefty Johnny Antonelli, in the first inning and then proceeded to hit home runs off Antonelli in the third and fifth innings.

Facing right-hander Jim Hearn in the sixth inning, Stan the Man singled. In the eighth inning, Musial ended a perfect day with a three-run blast off Hearn to break a 6-6 tie and lead the Cards to a 10-6 win.

The second game was another slug fest. The Cardinals jumped off the 3-0 first inning lead, but the Giants had an eight run fourth inning and managed to hang on for a much-needed 9-7 win.

Musial hit two more home runs in the second game loss to give him a record five home runs in a doubleheader, a record that was tied by the San Diego Padres on Aug. 1. 1972 against the Atlanta Braves.

Musial batted in nine runs with his five round-trippers, while Colbert had 13 RBIs.

Musial went on to hit 35 home runs in 1954, with a .330 batting average, 126 RBIs, and a .428 on base average. He led the league with 120 runs scored, and slugged .607. As the great Red Barber might ask Phil Rizzuto, “Think Musial was a good ball player?”

In 1972, Nate Colbert hit two home runs in the opener against the Braves at the launching pad in Atlanta, and followed that up with three more in the nightcap, He finished the 1972 season with 38 home runs despite playing his home games in Jack Murphy stadium, which was a pitcher’s park.

There is little chance that a modern player will hit five home runs in a doubleheader, primarily since there are virtually no regularly scheduled twin bills, but that may change.

It was recently announced that the Oakland A’s have scheduled a single admission doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels on July 16. It will be the A’s first old-fashioned double dip since 1995.

The last regularly scheduled doubleheader was on June 7. 1996, when Oakland visited the Minnesota Twins on June 7, 1996.

There will probably be more single-admission doubleheaders starting in 2012, when the playoffs are expanded to include two more wild card teams, since time will be needed for another round of playoff games and there will be less time for the regular season.

Some negatives also produce positives.


By JOHN DREBINGERSpecial to The New York Times.. (1954, May 3). ST. LOUIS SLUGGER PACES 10-6 VICTORY :Musial Belts 3 Homers, Then Adds 2 for Twin-Bill Mark as Giants Triumph, 9-7. New York Times (1923-Current file),28. Retrieved December 2, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2007). (Document ID: 92826845).

Oakland Schedules Single Admission Doubleheader

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National League Treasures: The Best Players in Each Franchise’s History

In today’s game of free agency and rebuilding sell-offs, it’s extremely rare for a player to stick with a team for much more than about a decade. Stars come and go, and the team’s is the only name that lasts through a fan’s lifetime.

But some players leave behind legacies that continue to capture the hearts of their fans long after they hang up their cleats.

Last week, Bleacher Report’s MLB Featured Columnists completed our hardest poll yet: picking the top players in the history of each NL franchise (for the AL results, click here).

Each voter was asked to name the top three players for each team, scored on a 3-2-1 basis. The greats were then ranked by points, with the number of first-place votes (in parentheses next to the vote totals) as a tiebreaker.

Some of the results were pretty predictable—I don’t think saying Hank Aaron and Willie Mays won for the Braves and Giants is much of a spoiler. But some of the winners were harder to see coming, and how the rest of the lists filled out was fascinating.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Note: I sent this survey only to the Featured Columnists who have been active in previous polls. If you are a new FC or you have changed your mind about wanting to participate, send me a message and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for next time!

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On The Heels Of a Giant: When Albert Pujols Passes Stan Musial

St. Louis has been home to many of MLB’s greatest players, including Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith. 

But no player is more revered in St. Louis history than “Stan-the-Man” Musial. 

Stan-the-Man finished his career with a .331 batting average, 475 home runs, 1951 RBIs and 3630 hits.  He went to 24 All-Star games, won three World Series, and earned the NL MVP three times. 

Although he has long been the most storied St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, Musial’s shoes will be filled within the next 10 years, or perhaps even five, by Albert Pujols. 

“The Machine” is currently chipping away at his 10th season as a St. Louis Cardinal, and is already within 100 home runs of Musial, who played 22 seasons. 

To date, Pujols has 385 home runs, 1170 RBIs and a career .333 batting average. 

So will Pujols’ passing of Musial make him the greatest player of the 21st century? 

Not necessarily.

Provided he stays healthy, Pujols will be what people thought Ted Williams could have been had he not missed years of playing time serving in the military, what Ken Griffey Jr. could have been had he not suffered injuries that kept him from putting up freakish career numbers. 

But “provided” and “if” do little to comfort fans. 

Pujols will have to simply play as though records don’t exist, as if every game depends solely on him in order to be crowned greatest ever. 

And what’s more important? 

Winning World Series as a member of a great team, or building a bigger personal trophy case as the years progress?

Pujols already has a World Series ring, something titans like Barry Bonds and Griffey Jr. cannot boast. 

How fans view Pujols in the next ten years will be interesting. It seems as though the Machine has already done everything a player can hope to do in his career: hit a ton of home runs, win awards, win World Series rings. 

Will fans continue to back Pujols when he gets a little older?  What will happen if Pujols only hits 500 home runs, only gets 3000 hits? 

Will fans be satisfied with anything but the greatest player ever?

Only time will tell.  For now, we can all just sit back and say “wow” every time Pujols does what he does best: be himself.


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The 10 Greatest St. Louis Cardinals of All Time

The St. Louis Cardinals are the most successful baseball franchise in National League history. Second only to the New York Yankees, the Cardinals have won 10 World Series titles.

The consistent presence of great athletes and coaches is hugely responsible for the club’s success. Each great Red Birds team has seen one or more Hall of Fame caliber players.

Breaking down the greats and creating a top 10 was no easy feat. With so many great players, the list is open for debate.

Let’s take a look at the 10 best players to ever wear a Cardinal uniform.

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