QUESTION: What is one lesson that you think today’s pro athletes could learn from the life and career of Stan Musial?
There is nothing today’s athletes could learn from Musial because they could never appreciate or understand Musial. They make too much money, get too much attention, endure far too much scrutiny to ever embrace the humility of Musial or stand up to his standard of integrity.
They live and play in a completely different world than the one Musial lived and played in. I’m not even sure Musial could be Musial in today’s world. Only the fact that there are exceptions, like Kurt Warner, makes you think Musial and his values could make the transition.
I have come across only three “superstar” athletes that have exceeded my expectations as people: Stan the Man, Arnold Palmer and Bob Pettit. And I would give an honorable mention to NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith, although he is not quite in the same category with those three in terms of recognition. No one else is in the same zip code as people.
And what is Musial’s reward? He is probably the most under-appreciated elite player in the history of baseball. What lesson does that teach today’s athlete. You do the math.
Humility. Stan Musial never acted like anybody or anything that he wasn’t.
Athletes can have a remarkable impact in the community. Fans want to connect to their favorite sports figures. By accommodating them to some degree, athletes strengthen the bond between teams and their customers. By simply donating the time to attend charitable events, they can make a big, big difference. Some of Stan Musial’s biggest fans never saw him play. They see him as a gentleman who appreciated his life as a sports figure and gave back to those who supported him.
Never walk by a child without making his or her day with a smile, a handshake or an autograph, and always carry a harmonica.