|All of baseball is mourning the loss of Stan Musial, one of the greatest players of all time. (Getty Images)|
Stan Musial, the Hall of Fame outfielder who spent his entire 22-year career in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, has died at the age of 92.
According to the Musial family, he died "peacefully at home" on Saturday of "natural causes."
Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. released the following statement:
"We have lost the most beloved member of the Cardinals family. Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball.
"The entire Cardinals organization extends its sincere condolences to Stan’s family, including his children Richard, Gerry, Janet and Jean, as well as his eleven grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. We join fans everywhere in mourning the loss of our dear friend and reflect on how fortunate we all are to have known 'Stan the Man'."
In 1963, Musial (and his famously coiled swing) ended his major-league career with 3,630 hits (1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road), 475 home runs and a slash line of .331/.417/.559. Musial was a three-time NL MVP and 20-time All-Star. In 1969, he was elected to the Hall of Fame when BBWAA named him on 93.2 percent of the ballots.
Odd as it may seem now, Musial began his professional career as a pitcher (in 1940, he went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA for Class-D Daytona Beach), but a shoulder injury suffered while playing the outfield forced him to become a full-time hitter. Suffice it to say, things worked out.
Musial's famous statue outside Busch Stadium carries the fitting inscription "Baseball's Perfect Knight." As brilliant as he was on the field, Musial was famous for his pleasant nature and generosity off it. If you're of a certain age, you probably picture Musial as a grandfatherly sort in a red blazer and with a harmonica in his hand.
If you're of a different certain age, you surely think of Musial as one of the best you ever saw, which he was.
Musial hasn't played a game in almost 50 years, but baseball will never be the same without him.
R.I.P., Mr. Musial.