Sunday, January 20, 2013

Little Kid Dreams

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!


  1. I grew up in Central Michigan and followed the Detroit Tigers. I was blessed with being able to watch Al Kaline be a class ballplayer and even a classier human being. I moved to St. Louis in 1987. Many of my contemporaries who grew up here knew Stan Musial. One friend used to mow the Musial's grass. Others knew them socially. This man was the real deal, a totally class act. I feel twice blessed.

    1. Al Kaline, now there's a guy I haven't thought about in a very very long time, but I do remember him and respected him as well.

  2. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    As you are aware, I was never a baseball fan. Yet the passing of Stan "The Man" Musial was recently noted in the Wall Street Journal. He was frail and and gray at 92-years-old, yet the man was more than just a powerhouse in his day. He was an untarnished image for millions of kids. Not everyone can say that today. Thank you for writing this, Jimbo. The Journal story can be read at:

    Fondest regards,
    Jack Riepe
    Twisted Roads

    1. Jack, thanks for the comment. I have to admit toi not really being a big baseball fan anymore, at least not at the major league level. Too much money concentrated in the hands of a very few teams make the game not very exciting for me. The Kansas City Royals have no way of competing in $ terms with the like of the Yankees and others. The Yankees can pay one player more than the Royals spend on their total payroll. Ridiculous!

  3. Loved your story and memories of this great ball player. He was something else.

    I am an avid fan (Cincinnati Reds) and relish too the time when players played for the love of the game, not million dollar contracts.

    Good old days, great players, wonderful times...

    Thank you for your sharing!

    1. And those Reds were rivals of the Cardinals, but as I remember it was usually a friendly rivalry. The Reds were always fun to watch!