Stan "The Man" Musial is a baseball legend. The greatest player in St. Louis Cardinals history, who died Saturday at the age of 92, is a member of the Hall of Fame and a recipient of the the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation's highest civilian honor.
As a baseball player Stan Musial has few peers. In a storied 22 year career, all with the Cardinals, he won seven batting titles, three MVP awards and three World Series rings. Many argue that Stan Musial is baseball's greatest hitter ever yet, incredibly, he was initially left off of baseball's all century team in 1999.
My father, a St. Louis native, grew up a Musial fan so naturally I'm a Musial fan. To this day my Dad and I go to Wrigley Field every year when the Cardinals are in town.
There are three lessons for fathers from the life of Stan Musial:
1) A good father is consistent. Stan Musial was a model of consistency. He was married to his high school sweetheart for 72 years. He played over two decades for the same team and appeared in a then record 895 consecutive games. How's this for consistency: Stan Musial had 3630 hits in his career; 1815 at home, 1815 on the road.
Kids want fathers to be present in their lives instead of simply "there." They crave structure, routines and involvement. Consistency is golden.
2) A good father leads by example. Stan Musial was a baseball ambassador who was beloved for his charity work as much as his playing ability. He was a regular presence in Cooperstown and St. Louis with his trademark harmonica. The great Willie Mays said of Musial, ''He used to take care of me at All-Star games, 24 of them. He was a true gentleman who understood the race thing and did all he could."
Kids are like sponges. They absorb everything about Dad, warts and all. It's up to Dad's to set the tone.
3) A good father is humble. Stan Musial is vastly underrated because he played in the Midwest, didn't marry a starlet like Marilyn Monroe (Joe DiMaggio) and wasn't a self promoter. It's impossible to picture Stan Musial "hopping" and preening for the cameras like Sammy Sosa or brooding like Barry Bonds. Stan Musial let his play do the talking and kept a low profile.
Kids have no use for a "me first father." Overbearing men need not apply.
There are no trophies for the father who works hard, provides for his children and is a presence in their lives. The rewards are many, the legacy forever.
What's your opinion about Stan Musial? Thanks so much for reading and I would enjoy hearing from you here or on my Facebook page.