Ever notice that a lot of people talk about the "good old days?" Hmmm, cars without air-conditioning; homes without central air; no Internet, (thank you Al Gore); those metal ice cube trays; no flu shots; only four flavors of ice cream, (vanilla, chocolate,strawberryand napoleon) I mean Neapolitan! But you know as well as I do that those days were just that----the good ol' days! And with that in mind, this past week several things happened in the world of sports that really exemplify a yearning to return to those old days!!!
I'm sure most have heard by now of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France cyclist winner. In that interview, Armstrong admitted, (which anyone that even remotely followed him knew), that he used performance-enhancing drugs, or "doping" as it's called to improve his racing ability. He admitted to Winfrey that he is or was a "deeply flawed" person. Armstrong cheated in every single one of his cyclist racing world victories. Every single one! And he accused those who tried to bring this out in the open all kinds of vile names. Ya, deeply flawed is a good description. In fact, the Sports Illustrated magazine named him the 2002 "Sportsman of the Year" award.
Last week, January 19, to be exact, another sports story sprung forth--the death of Stan "The Man" Musial at age 92. If Lance Armstrong would be at one end of the sports spectrum, Stan Musial would be far and away clear at the other end. He represented everything that was good about the "good old days."
Musial played his whole baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals and was a 24-time "All Star" selection. He was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and had a lifetime batting average of .331. Very few ballplayers today bat this well for even one season and Musial did it over a span of over 20 seasons. However, (get this), after a particularly sub-par season, Stan Musial went into the front office and requested a "pay-cut." Ya, a pay cut! Wonder if A-Rod would do that today???
Musial also joined the US Navy during WW II and missed the entire 1945 season.
On September 11, 1963, in the early morning hours, Stan Musial became a grandfather for the first time. He was 43 years old. Later that afternoon, he hit a home run in honor of the great occasion. And at the end of the 1963 season, he retired from active play. He amassed tons of records in his day, some still standing today. He loved the game. He loved the fans and he never did anything to tarnish the sport he loved so much or his family name.
When Stan was 15 years old, he met a girl in high school. Her name was Lil and she was 15 also. They married on May 25, 1941. They had four children and Lil died last May 3, 2012, just shy of celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary. Good bye, Mr. Musial. Your the starting 1st baseman for God's Team now. You will be missed.
That's the Way I See It.
Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 319-334-4117. I'm totally ready for spring!!!