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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography Of A Baseball Legend, April 10, 2011
This review is from: Stan Musial: An American Life (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Growing up as a very young child in New York in the 50s and early 60s, I was taught by my father, grandfather and aunts and uncles about the great baseball teams in New York at that time. Most of the family were Yankee fans. I grew up with talk of Gehrig, Rush, Dimaggio, Dickey and then current Yankees such as Mantle, Skowron, Ford, Martin, Bauer and Berra. When talk turned to other teams, it was usually the Giants or the Dodgers. I learned about Mays, Snider, Reese, Hodges, Robinson, Sal "the Barber" Maglie and greats like Ott, McGraw and Matthewson. The only other ballplayers I ever heard about were Feller (my dad saw him no-hit the Yankees), Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

Feller was respected (although I do not remember seeing him play) as was Williams. Williams was considered aloof and worst of all - a member of the Boston Red Sox. This is a biography of Stan Musial by New York sportswriter George Vecsey. He (Musial) was universally loved by my family and respected - for his play and his demeanor.

This book covers Stan from his modest childhood in Donora, PA. to his receiving the Medal Of Freedom from President Obama in February of this year. It obviously covers Stan's great career with the St. Louis Cardinals (one of the best in baseball history) and is full of non-baseball anecdotes which entertained and also educated me. Stan's business ventures are covered as well - and while I knew of the feud with another famous ballplayer - I now know why.

I had no idea what the "Donora Death Fog" was until this book. How hundreds became ill and over a dozen died in industrial smog in 1948. Stan's home town. You will learn about how his childhood experiences molded him to become, arguably, one of the more under rated Hall Of Famers of the 1940- early 1960s (when compared to Mantle, Mays, Dimaggio, Williams, Berra, Koufax, Snider etc.). Had Stan Musial played in New York - he'd have been a deity. The respect held for him by his opponents was such, that he was named to the Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Fame (yes, that's correct).

Stan has known Popes, famous authors (James Michener), politicians (Jack Kennedy) and actors or actresses (Angie Dickinson). The book made me laugh aloud in sections, and appreciate what a good human being this man appears to be both on the surface, and below it. He also has his flaws - and they are pointed out as well. This isn't a glossy "Puff" book. Even the respect Albert Pujols holds for Stan is explained. The anecdotes are great. The stories around Jackie Robinson are illuminating as well.

Most of the Amazon Vine books I've read haven't grabbed me, or interested me. Either I don't get good choices or I'm picking the wrong books. Happily, this is not one of those - but a really superb biography of a great American icon. This is a must read for St. Louis Cardinal fans and baseball fans in general. As a biography reader, it's one of the better one's I've read in the last decade over MANY areas of focus (history, sports, science, pop culture etc.). A good fun read. **** 1/2 stars. (I would have preferred deeper baseball discussions/stats/pennant discussions etc.).

Highly Recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 14, 2011 12:25:40 PM PDT
dcreader says:
Well done; your comment regarding the book's one shortcoming - "deeper baseball discussions/stats/pennant discussions" is right on.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2011 1:05:13 AM PDT
Thanks! I thought so (obviously).
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