Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 1963: Stan The Man Musial's Career Comes To A Close

On September 29, 1963, an era in Cardinals baseball came to a close as Stan The Man Musial played in his last major league game. Musial ended his career much like it began, with two hits in a 3-2 victory at Sportsman's Park. 22 years earlier Musial was a 20 year old kid that had dreams of making it in the big leagues, he would not only achieve that dream he would reach legendary status. Before the contest against the Reds, there was a pregame ceremony to honor The Man. After a variety of speeches the always humble Stan thanked everyone and acknowledged it was a day he would not forget. His teammates presented him with a ring that had six diamonds in it shaped like his #6. Before the two teams took the field the owner of the club Gussie Busch made it be known that no other player would ever wear that #6 in a Cardinals uniform. The game that was set to take place had a couple of great pitchers ready to square off as Cincinatti sent 23 game winner Jim Maloney to the hill while the Cardinals countered with Bob Gibson who had 18 wins under his belt. Musial went down on strikes in his first at bat then in the fourth he ripped a single up the middle that got past a rookie second baseman by the name of Pete Rose. In the sixth Musial picked up his second single of the day that brought Curt Flood into score the first Cardinal run. It was the 3,630th hit f his career and his 1,815th at home. After that second hit the great Stan Musial was lifted from the game as Gary Kolb would come into pinch run for him. Ken Boyer and Bill White put together back-to-back singles before a Charlie James sac fly brought Kolb into score what would prove to be a very important run. With Gibson still on the mound in the ninth the Reds tied things up, it spoiled an 11 strikeout performance for the Cardinals hurler but it didn't spoil Musial's 3,026th game played. 3 hours and 45 minutes after the first pitch shortstop Dal Maxvill hit a walk off double to give Stan and the Birds a victory. After the game Musial said "Everyone was pulling for a home run, but I'm a singles hitter, so it seemed appropriate that I should go out with a pair of'em." While his playing days ended on that late September day in 1963 his legacy will live forever, generations to come will dream of the days when Musial came strolling to the plate at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. There are so many great things you could say about Stan, one of those things is he not only showed people how to play ball, he showed people how they should live. He did it the right way on the field and in life. Hats off to the one and only Stan The Man Musial.

This is a video of Musial's last at bat:

Here's the final box score of Stan's career:

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