Stan Musial Tribute on Four-Part Cover Series of This Week’s Sports IllustratedPosted: January 22, 2013
St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial, who passed away last week at the age of 92, is on a special regional four-cover series of the Jan. 28, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday. This is the first time Sports Illustrated has run an issue with four consecutive covers of the same person and is the second time Musial has been featured by himself on a Sports Illustrated cover. In 1957, Musial was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.
“When we heard the news of Stan Musial’s passing, we recognized an extraordinary opportunity,” said Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Christian Stone. “Across a series of four covers with vintage images and accompanying quotes, we were able to better tell the story of an uncontroversial sports legend beloved by fans in St. Louis and baseball fans around the world. Who better to be the first person to ever be featured in four consecutive covers of SI than Stan the Man?”
Playing in an era that saw fellow stars Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Ted Williams gain more notoriety thanks in part to playing in larger media markets and also for being known for off the field feats, Sports Illustrated senior writer Richard Hoffer takes us back to the consistent greatness and legacy of Stan the Man in this week’s Sports Illustrated (PAGE 23).
Musial’s stats were astounding: Lifetime .331 hitter with 3,630 hits, including a 16-season run of .300-plus seasons and a 9-season stretch of .330 plus. And while you may not think of him as a home run hitter, he did hit 475 of them. His teams also won—St. Louis took home three World Series titles during his tenure. Musial was viewed by many as the most feared hitter in the game.
“Throw him four wide ones,” was Preacher Roe’s advice, “and pick him off first.”
“Throw it under the plate,” suggested Leo Durocher (PAGE 24).”
Hoffer also notes how loyal Musial was: he spent 22 seasons with the Cardinals (and remained associated with the team up to his death); was married to his wife Lillian for 71 years; and served in the Navy, which briefly interrupted his playing career. He was the perfect Midwestern hero, always there, always cheerful and always ready to whip out his harmonica or tell a joke. Once asked the secret of his baseball longevity, he seemed to poke a little fun at his own stolid image. Musial once said: “Get eight hours of sleep regularly. Keep your weight down, run a mile a day. If you must smoke, try light cigars. They cut down on inhaling…Make it a point to bat .300 (PAGE 25).”
St. Louis has tried to repay its baseball figurehead with two statues, the first engraved with former commissioner Ford Frick’s words from Musial’s final game in 1963:
“Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight (PAGE 26).”
Download a high res image of the covers here.