Famous Missourian: "Stan the Man" Musial
July 09, 2012
Stanislaw "Stan" Franciszek Musial, better known as "Stan the Man" Musial, is an example of a true American success story. Stanislaus Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21, 1920 to Lukasz and Mary (Lancos) Musial. Together they had six children: four girls and two boys. Stan's father, Lukasz, was born on October 21, 1890 in Poland. He emigrated to the U.S. on January 30, 1910 at age 16 and became a naturalized citizen on June 1, 1920. Mary Lancos was born in New York in 1897 and was the daughter of Czech immigrants.
A natural athlete, Stan Musial was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals while still in high school. He played his first major league game as an outfielder in September 1941 and quickly made a name for himself as a consistent and prolific batter. He played his entire 22 year career for the St. Louis Cardinals, though he missed the entire 1945 season while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Musial set many Major League records, including 24 All-Star game appearances. He won seven batting titles and three Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards. During his career, he had 3,630 hits, a National League record until broken by Pete Rose in 1981. He retired from baseball in 1963 with a .331 average and 475 home runs, and he was the first player to accumulate both 400 homers and 3,000 hits.
Known for his humility and sportsmanship, Stan Musial was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, his first year of eligibility. He was later selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian.
Stan married his childhood sweetheart, Lillian "Lil" Labash on May 25, 1940. They were married for 72 years. Lil died on May 5, 2012 at the age of 91. She was beloved by Cardinal fans and was often referred to as the "Mother Cardinal" by the rookie wives and their children during Stan's career.
A statue of Stan Musial was erected in front of the Cardinals' Busch Stadium, and the inscription by former baseball commissioner Ford Frick perfectly describes the man who is beloved by baseball fans of all ages: "Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight."
Ora Lee A. and Suzanne V.
Midwest Genealogy Center