In celebration of the renaming of the National Sportsmanship Awards, the Musial Awards is establishing a special achievement award in Stan the Man’s name. Beginning this year, the “Musial Award for Extraordinary Character” will be presented annually as the pinnacle honor bestowed at the event. The recipient will be a sports figure or organization that embodies the class, dignity, generosity, excellence, civility and integrity synonymous with Stan. The award itself is special. It is Harry Weber’s sculpture of the Cardinals’ legend entitled “Remembering Stan the Man.” The generosity of St. Louis-based Edward Jones is allowing the Musial Awards to present this one-of-a-kind award. Together, we salute the inaugural recipient of the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character – the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals.
Stan Musial was a part of the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a player, general manager, and its most important ambassador for 72 years. He set the gold standard on the baseball field, holding numerous Major League Baseball and Cardinals franchise records when he retired as a player in 1963. But more than his contributions on the field, Stan embodied the virtues of dignity, respect, class and character that inspired generations of baseball fans and those who ever came in contact with him. Musial’s way became synonymous with The Cardinal Way – a tangible method of teaching, competing and respecting the game of baseball, which has guided the organization’s players, coaches, scouts, front office and even owners through the years. Current
Cardinals Owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said upon Stan the Man’s passing in January 2013, “I can’t think of another player, in any era, or representing any other team, that better
embodies the attributes that an organization looks for in a player.” As St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Derrick Goold also noted that day, “Stan personified the Cardinals. He is the person the Cardinals want to be.”
It was in that spirit that the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals dedicated their season to Stan, honoring what he stood for by playing with the consistency, zeal and grace that Stan the Man displayed throughout his career. While Stan set a bar few can reach personally, the Cardinals as a team aimed to reach those standards collectively. And they didn’t disappoint.
Perhaps the best way to measure the Cardinals’ performance this season would be to say that Stan would have loved to watch the 2013 team play every day. The roster was a mix of seasoned veterans that exemplified Stan’s excellence and leadership, and young players that represented Stan’s enthusiasm and hunger for success. The result was a tremendous summer for St. Louis baseball fans, who witnessed their beloved Redbirds compete against two tough division rivals and win the battle for the Central Division championship, the team’s first since 2009. The Cardinals of 2013 played with purpose, and Stan’s legacy was very much on their minds as they marched through a remarkable season and into the postseason. Perhaps it was symbolic, then, that this team that strived to represent Stan’s ideals all season, reached the World Series with a win in Game 6 of the NLCS as a nod to St. Louis’ iconic #6. By their words and actions, the 2013 Cardinals hoped they performed in a way that would make Stan proud. They did.