Friday, December 30, 2011

Stan The Man: Book Review

I'm just over halfway through Stan The Man by Wayne Stewart. Published in 2010 by Triumph Books, this book is one of a few released recently about the Cardinal great.

It's a good read. At times, I feel as if Stewart is giving us too much information about Jackie Robinson or Branch Rickey.

The first chapter deals with his childhood in Donora, PA. Some anecdotes relate to Ken Griffey, Jr. as Musial played with Sr.'s father, Buddy in high school.

The next few chapters, we learn just how he became The Man, why he treats his fans the way that he does, etc.

Stewart not only interviews family and friends but he does his research with quoting former ballplayers that wrote books.

Rick Ankiel was not the first Cardinal to be converted from pitcher to hitter. Stan started out as a pitcher but he was a good hitter at the time. An injury to his throwing shoulder and next thing you know, he's asked to play in the outfield. We know what happens next.

The book covers the great decade of the 1940s for the Cardinals, a decade that took the Cards to 4 World Series, winning 3 of them. Stewart discusses how Stan was robbed of a triple crown.

After finishing the book, I can say that it's definitely more of a linear biography moreso than anything else. Wayne Stewart talks with friends and family of Stan and most of Stan's quotes in the book, I feel as if they came elsewhere from press in the media rather than The Man himself. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But we do find out interesting things though. During the memorabilia craze of the early 90s, Stan the Man, Inc. was formed and even though the goal was to SELL memorabilia, Musial had no problem with giving away autographs for free. I should know...I'm the owner of one of those free autographs.

It's a fast read, too. When one works and has to find time to read, you shouldn't have a problem. It's not like some other books that take forever to read because we're reading about one of the greatest guys of all time to play the game.

Stewart does go into detail on why he's not beloved nationally as say a guy like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, or even Ted Williams.

It's highly recommended.

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