There is an endless argument over who is the greatest ballplayer since Babe Ruth, but Stan Musial has made the argument over who is the most incredible person who has ever played the game redundant. Stan Musial is the greatest player in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals and is also one of the best players in baseball history. We are starting by looking at the longevity of Stan Musial, as his 22-year career is among the longest in the history of baseball.
Even after Hank Aaron broke a National League record and several other records, Stan Musial’s games total is the sixth-highest in the game’s history. When we look at OPS+, a statistic which adjusts for hitter’s environments played and park effects, Stan Musial is once again in the top 10 of all-time among players with 2000 or more games played. That means 16 players with 2,000 or more career games have slugged at a higher average than Musial.
It is hard, perhaps impossible, to tell other than to point out that, according to the Bill James analysis, two of the top ten players of all time, Oscar Charleston and Josh Gibson, were shut out of big-league baseball for portions of Musial’s career. Baseball history has tended to forget the incredible greatness of Stan Musial since he was located in the Midwest, playing in the same era as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio and early in the careers of Willie Mays and Henry Aaron.
In 1948, Musial hit 39 home runs, then hit 36 the following year, reaching 75 home runs over these two seasons, which is three more than he had hit the previous seven. Musial had his most excellent statistical season of all time in 1948, as he posted his all-time high (and league-leading) numbers in batting average (.376), hits (230), runs scored (135), and runs batted in (131), resulting in a third-place finish for NL MVP. In fact, Musial played the majority of his peak seasons before 1952, winning six of his seven batting titles in an era when baseball was not fully integrated.
During his playing career, Musial earned seven batting titles, two MVPs, and the respect and admiration of everyone who knew him. His record-breaking streak of 895 consecutive games played stood as the major league record until broken in 1970 by Billy Williams of the Cubs, and is a record the legend particularly treasures, for it shows his commitment to the values of working-class people in the daily tasks of playing baseball. Despite Musial’s increasing power, though, Musial never led the league in home runs. A native of East St. Louis, Dr Harry Edwards admitted he was a massive fan of Musial, ranking him second all-time among great players in the league, only behind Willie Mays.