“A thoroughly decent human being”

One of the only things I love more than baseball is writing about baseball—and occasionally, I have the good fortune to write for a fellow baseball fan. Imagine getting paid to learn more about the thing you love, and to share that love with an audience.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a speech for a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. And in the course of my research I came across a speech I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the eulogy Bob Costas delivered for baseball legend Stan Musial. I thought you deserved to hear a little more about it.

Costas noted that Stan Musial never got the kind of accolades his peers did. He didn’t break Babe Ruth’s home run record, like Hank Aaron. He didn’t hit a legendary home run in his last at-bat like Ted Williams. All Musial represented, Costas said, was—quote—”more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer and more than nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being.” Costas quotes Hank Aaron as saying, “I didn’t just like Stan Musial. I wanted to be like him.”

I couldn’t use this story in my client’s speech, but after the funeral mass ended, the hearse drove Musial’s casket to the Cardinals’ ballpark, and the family laid flowers at the foot of one of the two Musial statues there. I’ll let Cardinals fan and blogger Janice Person describe the scene:

What I will remember most though is that after the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” for the family, I began to hear “Take me out to the ballgame” softly coming from the many ushers and other staff members of the Cardinals organization.

The hundreds of fans gathered there joined in, too. I don’t know about you, but that kind of display of community always gets to me. I think it’s because it’s so rare for people to share their emotions so openly. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow—in a non-baseball context.

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