Top positive review
Stan The [People's] Man
on April 15, 2013
Gotta confess, I have not read every chapter of this new book, although the chapters are pleasingly short they read almost like a series of Sports Column Commentaries, collected from the '40s thru the '60s, on the Heart Of The Cards, Stanley Musial.
As a Yankee fan, I feel that *their* premiere Outfielder (with a big "M" to herald his last name) who got moved to firstbase, have a lot in common: Mantle got his first name from the great Cardinal of the '30s, Mickey Cochran - they both hit .275 in 1960 - very low for them - and they both played at least a season too long.
Maybe Musial shoulda quit in 1958, after hitting .337. Somebody out there who can pass third grade please tell us what his lifetime batting average was at that point. But back then, the players HAD to play, and big stats were expected - taken for granted. Mantle played that last season for New York in 1968 and wound up hitting .298, not .302. (By '68, that was very significant).
But to the new generation, that kind of situation doesn't mean much. Neither of them hit 73 home runs in a year! (let's not go there).
Well, maybe we should: this book is beautifully written by George Vecsey; cast in the "old school" sports reporting style - and just not "hip" enough to sell to the new wave fans - they just didn't do "the wave" back in 1958. (corny, but I had to say it). A big reason may be in the conspicuous absence of lists, lists, lists. Sure, all lists lead to baseball-reference (no plug) but I saw no mention of even
Musial's lifetime batting average here. Need numbers! And he had 'em! He had .376, he had.... as Casey said "You could look it up"!
I shamefully admit I don't recall if he was a contact hitter comparable to Ted Williams, the guy with whom Musial is always compared.
Another (small) flaw is the effervescence: his final, down years are rushed through; his great comeback of 1962, no doubt facilitated by expansion pitching, is attributed to his important workouts in the spring and an agreeable new manager, Keane.
Both Musial and Mantle should have quit before the misery really set in - quit with a round-tripper like Teddy.