STAN THE MAN

Jan 23, 2013 -- 12:11pm

 Sadness is the absence of a good baseball mitt.-Stew Cohen

 

I’m in mourning over the loss of Stan the Man.  Stan the Man is the nickname of the great baseball player, Stan Musial, the Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, first baseman, that thrilled fans for years in the 1950s and 60s with his hitting prowess and fielding finesse. Stan “the Man” Musial has died at the age of 92, surrounded by family. 

Stew’s View is obviously skewed from the senses of a boy grown into a man reflecting back on his adolescence in a north suburb…as he plays ball with his dad. In my left hand, I’m catching my dad’s throws in my Stan Musial mitt; a beautiful Rawlings glove, makers of the finest gloves. This was my only mitt, I didn’t need another. 

When my mitt wasn’t on my left hand, it was in my bed or under my bed with baseballs wrapped up in the web pocket or my mitt was in my closet hanging up or folded in my back pocket or on the floor where mom or dad could accidentally trip on it. 

Boys today may find this attachment to a baseball glove something they just can’t understand. You had to be a kid in the pre computer age for this to truly make sense. Although my sons had taken the TV remotes to bed and sometimes their iPods, these items don’t have the personal connection of taking a baseball mitt that has a name written on it like Musial or Willie Mays or Yogi Berra or Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle or Carl Yastrzemski. They wrote their names…and these names were stamped on the gloves and the gloves were broken in with care and love and oiled and broken in some more and worn and taken off and then worn again and you said things to your dad that were from the heart…when the two of you were finished playing … “I love you,..Dad.” 

Yes, kids still have the baseball glove if they played ball and as we know, they have so many things that seem to call out their name…such as video games or Angry Birds….or any number of activities that aren’t baseball … where you just get dad to throw the ball to you. 

Stan the Man Musial’s passing this week brought my attention back to my glove.  Don’t know what happened to it, other than dad gave it to a child after I started college…same time he gave away all my baseball cards….but I’ve forgiven him for prying me away from Stan the Man and from forced parting with baseball cards that were worth hundreds of dollars. 

I’m sure my dad didn’t tell the boy that I had all kinds of dreams that boys have growing up…that I told dad as we threw back and forth. He didn’t tell the boy that I used to swat flies with my glove after dad went back in the house.  He didn’t tell the boy that I’d throw my glove in the air and run in circles and try to catch it.

 One glove for one boy…that’s how we grew up in the 60s…and mine was Stan the Man Musial. 

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