As a 5 year old, growing up in a small town in western Kansas in the early 1960's, it was common to dream of being a big time sports star. Probably my favorite sport was basketball. I spent many hours shooting hoops in the back yard with a goal that had a backboard made out of plywood and nailed against a tree. It wasn't exactly regulation height and a little crooked, but that mattered very little.
I admired many of the stars of the era, which included just about anyone on the Boston Celtics team, but notably Bill Russell and John Havlicek.
In the summertime though, the time was spent dreaming about baseball. Many great heros came from this time such as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris
and then there was "Stan the Man".
The St. Louis Cardinals radio network extended way out into western Kansaa and I and many others faithfully "dialed in" to listen to games. Stan Musial was the star of the team, a great player that played his entire career in St Louis. He was the guy you always pulled for when he strode up to the plate, with the game on the line in the late innings. And he frequently would be able to deliver the game winning hit.
And he was such a classy guy. He played in an era where players weren't paid a lot of money, but rather they played largely for the love of the game.
Stan passed away this week and the news has brought back lots of childhood memories to me and probably many others.
Stan, you were so admired by a lot of people, particularly 5 year old kids like me. But the admiration goes way beyond your success on the baseball diamond.
The world could sure use more "legends" like you. Many thanks for the dreams and memories!