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Stan Musial: An American Life by George…
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Stan Musial: An American Life

by George Vecsey

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8819137,094 (3.19)1 / 15
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George Vecsey's column is usually the first thing I read in the Sports section of the New York Times, and over the years I have come appreciate him not only as a reporter but also as a decent human being, compassionate but honest. Which qualities he shares with his subject, Stan Musial. As the child of a Brooklyn Dodgers fan family, the only non-Brooklyn player I heard much about was Stan the Man; it helped that Musial was a practicing Catholic like my family. This biography feels like a labor of love; I hope it helps rescue Musial from the shadows cast by his contemporaries Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
I would have rated the book higher if the author hadn't injected his opinion on how everything was better Back In the Good Old Days, one of my least favorite attitudes in a non-memoir book of baseball nonfiction (or even in one, for that matter.) Worth it for the depiction of Donora, Pennsylvania, though--but this just makes me want to look for books on the Pittsburgh-area steel towns that would go into more depth. ( )
  bunnygirl | Mar 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I read this book during the summer of 2011, while baseball season was in full swing. Though I live in St. Louis, I am not a native St. Louisian nor a Cardinals fan. However, this book brought Stan Musial to life for me. The stories (of varying chapter lengths) are paced and spun well. Though a bit romantic in tone, Vecsey does not completely gloss over some of the pricklier parts of Stan's life and I appreciate this. While I enjoyed the book immensely, the fairly didactic tone of in the beginning chapter risks alienating younger generation readers like myself. I'm more than an avid fan of baseball, history and today, and I nearly put the book down too early. I'm glad I did not. ( )
  jlhilljr | Mar 13, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A good read that is well researched. Even though I didnt like the flow off the books tempo, the information was very interesting. It gave me an insight to the man who I have always heard about but alas never got to see play. ( )
  corgiiman | Oct 29, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've read more than 250 baseball books/baseball histories and this is one of the better ones. That said, it's very good, not great. The author clearly did his research and interviewed many, many people, from Stan's daughter to current and former players to a man whose father ran a kids' baseball league to which Stan donated money, to try to get a sense for Stan the Man. I wish he'd organized his writing better, making his fascinating tidbits more fluid. Each chapter is quite compartmentalized.

I also wish he had done more with what Stan himself thought. Towards the end, the author explains why he didn't interview Musial but I felt like he could've used more contemporary quotes or something. The book would've benefitted from an appendix with Musial's statistics, too.

That said, the author relates a number of interesting stories showing Musial's decency and baseball prowess.

As a Polish American, Musial was one of my baseball heroes, even though he retired from the Cardinals when I was just a few years old and I was thrilled to learn so much about him, from his childhood in a working class town of Donora, PA to his post-baseball career.

Lots of interesting information. Who knew that Musial campaigned for JFK in 1960, along with author James Michener (who became a good friend) and Angie Dickinson? I sure didn't. Later, Musial travelled to Poland with Michener and met the man who would later become Pope John Paul II.

The author calls Musial the most underrated ballplayer ever. For some reason, of the Big Three (Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Musial), the other two became more glorified and larger than life as time passed. The harmonica-playing Musial, a typical guy next door, became less glorified as time passed.

Musial was a decent man, a much-loved man and this book shows why.

As Commissioner Ford Frick said of him "Here lies baseball's perfect warrior. Here lies baseball's perfect knight."

Despite its flaws, for someone who's interested in baseball and willing to take the time to get into this book, I'd definitely recommend it. ( )
2 vote lindapanzo | Oct 27, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The cult of Stan Musial wonders why the rest of the baseball world treats him as only a minor deity. Outside of St. Louis, today’s fans either forget about him or rate him well behind Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams, his Hall of Fame contemporaries from the 1940s and ’50s. Cardinal fans insist Stan the Man was as good or better.

George Vecsey would agree with followers of the Man.
added by redsauce | editChron.com, Conrad Bibens (May 8, 2011)
 
In 22 seasons, Stan Musial had a career batting average of .331, hit 475 home runs, compiled 3,630 career hits, was three times the National League’s Most Valuable Player and retired with 17 major league records. Yet his remarkable accomplishments have been overshadowed by those of the other two great hitters of his era, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

George Vecsey, a longtime sportswriter for The New York Times, decided it was time to pay proper tribute to the great St. Louis Cardinal, who captured his heart at the tender age of 7 even though Musial played against his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers.
 
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We drove straight through the night, married only a few months, on spring break, our first vacation together. (prologue)
Bud Selig could see it coming.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sports journalist George Vecsey finally gives this twenty-time All-Star and St. Louis Cardinals icon the kind of prestigious biographical treatment previously afforded to his more celebrated contemporaries. More than just a recounting of Musial's life, this is the definitive portrait of one of the game's best-loved but most unappreciated legends, told through the remembrances of those who played beside, worked with, and covered "Stan the Man" over his nearly seventy years in the national spotlight. Stan Musial never married a starlet. He didn't die young, live too hard, or squander his talent. There were no legendary displays of temper or moodiness. He was merely the most consistent superstar of his era, a scarily gifted batsman who compiled 3,630 career hits (1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road), won three World Series titles, and retired in 1963 in possession of 17 major-league records. Away from the diamond, he proved a savvy businessman and a model of humility and graciousness toward his many fans in St. Louis and around the world.--From publisher description.… (more)

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