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Stan Musial

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July 28, 2014
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July 28, 2014
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January 24, 2013
I WAS BORN IN 1953 IN MCKEESPORT HOSPITAL, AND SPENT MY CHILDHOOD BEING RAISED IN ELRAMA, PA.,HARD BY THE MONONGAHELA RIVER. A SMALL TOWN THAT OWED MUCH OF IT'S BEING TO THE SHIRE OAKS YARDS OF THE MIGHTY PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD. JUST 11 MILES DOWNRIVER FROM DONORA. OUR TOWN, AND MANY OTHERS IN THE MON VALLEY, DOWN TO PITTSBURGH, WERE FUELED BY THE RAILROADS, COAL MINES, AND STEEL MILLS THAT INTERTWINED ALONG THE RIVER'S BANKS, AND STREAMS, FLOWING DOWN THE HOLLOWS THAT FED HER. MEN AND WOMEN LABORED, PROUD OF THEIR WORK, FEELING IT A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE A JOB, HELPING TO SUSTAIN THIS GREAT COUNTRY, AND HOPING TO PROVIDE THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WITH A BETTER LIFE. PLEASURES WERE FEW.CHURCH. FRIENDS AND FAMILY. A COLD ONE AT A "BEER GARDEN". A CHEAP CIGAR. A HOMEGROWN TOMATO, JUST PICKED FROM BEHIND THE HOUSE, OR A BASEBALL GAME, ON A HOT SUMMER NIGHT COMING OVER THE RADIO AIRWAVES, AS YOU SAT ON THE PORCH SWING. MY DAD WAS A LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER ON "THE PENNSY", AND I LOST HIM TOO SOON. HE WAS 44, AND I WAS 12. HE WAS MY HERO. AND I CAN STILL HEAR MY HERO, WHEN STAN MUSIAL STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE, TELLING ME TO "BE LIKE HIM". ALTHOUGH WE WERE PIRATE FANS, WE COULD NOT, AND WOULD NOT, ROOT AGAINST STAN. HE WAS ONE OF US. A NICE POLISH BOY FROM THE MON VALLEY, WHO MADE IT GOOD. WHEN THE ADULTS SPOKE OF STAN THE MAN, OR STASH, IT WAS IN ONE OF TWO WAYS. THEIR FACES WOULD LIGHT UP, THEIR WORDS ANIMATED AND COMING RAPIDLY, WITH HIGH PRAISE AND A SMILE ON THEIR FACES, OR WITH A SERIOUS EXPRESSION, TALKING IN LOW TONES, SLOWLY, WITH GREAT RESPECT AND ADMIRATION. I KNEW WHAT MY FATHER MEANT. "BE LIKE HIM". NOT JUST A WONDERFUL ATHLETE, BUT A GOOD HUMAN BEING. TO BORROW A PHRASE FROM FROM ANOTHER GREAT SPORTSMAN, BUT ON A DIFFERENT FIELD, VINCE LOMBARDI SAID "WE ARE CHASING PERFECTION, AND WE SHALL NEVER CATCH IT. BUT, WE WILL OVERTAKE EXCELLENCE ALONG THE WAY". WE KNOW THAT ONLY GOD IS PERFECT. STAN OVERTOOK EXCELLENCE, AND GAVE A HECKUVA RUN AT CHASING PERFECTION. NOT ONLY AS BASEBALL PLAYER, BUT AS A FINE HUMAN BEING. THANK YOU, STAN. YOU SET A GREAT EXAMPLE FOR ALL OF US. GOD BLESS YOU. MY SINCERE CONDOLENCES TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS. MAY YOUR HEARTS BE FILLED WITH GOD'S GRACE, AND PEACE, KNOWING THAT STAN'S WAS A LIFE WELL LIVED.
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