stan musial

In the first of a new Baseballisms collection called Down the Line, we are grateful to Michael Hoffman for inviting us into his home to discuss his personal story about growing up a Yankee fan.  He also shares tales of his annual pilgrimage to Cooperstown to attend the induction ceremonies at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We are looking to develop more of the Down the Line videos, as an archive of conversations with baseball fans about their passion for the game.

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#StLCards fans have the great fortune of a long and storied legacy from their home town ball team.  Cardinals fans can revisit teams spanning the entire century for a glimpse at defining moments and legendary players in the history of the game of baseball.

On this episode of Cover the Bases we speak with Alan Ross, the author of Cardinals Glory: For the Love of Dizzy, Ozzie, and the Man, published by Turner Publishing.  His book spans the history of the St. Louis Cardinals up to the 2004 season, using quotes and anecdotes collected from the players, media, fans and management to bring to life this glorious history.

Our conversation immediately starts by trying to define where Albert Pujols fits into the grand scheme of Cardinal greats, and we are both convinced that St. Louis is witnessing a pantheon type player in real time.

Alan brings up the challenges that historians will have defining the players who were playing during the steroids era, and the focus that Mark McGwire brings to the Cardinals franchise because of the controversy.

The Cardinals benefited for decades from the flagship radio station KMOX, a clear 50,000 watt station that could be heard all over the country.  Many fans spent days and nights following the team through these broadcasts without ever getting a chance to see the team in person.  This contributed to the mystique of the ballplayers and help propel the legacy to a much wider audience.

Alan is obviously a lover of the history of the game of baseball and we even reminisce about the old wooden ballparks, built right into the neighborhoods of the cities. They brought the teams closer to the fans, as the facilities became great shrines to the teams that they housed.

The Gashouse Gang of the 1930’s is Alan’s favorite of Cardinals history, and he wished he could get into a time capsule to see the play of Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin, Ducky Medwich, managed by Frankie Frisch.  This scrappy, “dirty” bunch played a style of baseball that won them the World Series title in 1934 over the Detroit Tigers.

We turn towards the most influential Cardinal of all, Stan “The Man” Musial.  Sometimes, we lose a bit of perspective regarding the players of years past, but the beauty of baseball is that we can look at some key information that will remind us of how great a player had been.  In preparation for this podcast I collected the following incredible facts –  22 seasons, 3 MVP’s, 7 Batting Championships, 3,630 hits .. and three World Series Championships!

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