A Harmonious Relationship: Stan and Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A St. Louis treasure, Cardinals legend Stan Musial always had a love for the city of Springfield.

"He was always positive about being here," said Missouri Sports Hall of Fame President Jerald L. Andrews. "I think he enjoyed his time here."

Musial helped put the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on the map, sometimes even stopping by unannounced.

"Here are people who paid five bucks to enter the museum and Stan Musial comes in and starts handing out autographs," Andrews recalled with a laugh.

The Hall built an iconic statue of Musial, and even named a road after him, "Stan Musial Drive."

"You need to name it drive not boulevard," Andrews recalled John Q. Hammons telling him. "Stan Musial hit drives. You've got to call it Musial Drive."

And Stan the Man loved to come to Hammons Field.

"He was thrilled that Cardinal baseball was returning to Springfield," Andrews said.

Perhaps that's because Springfield, is where Stan honed his hitting.

"He always wanted to find the old ballpark," said Andrews.

Before he began a 22 year hall of fame big league career...A 20-year old stanley frank musial played class c ball at old white city park.

Musial, originally slated to be a pitcher, spent his first full season as an outfielder in our little corner of Missouri.

He smacked 26 homers and racked up 132 hits in just 87 games.

The big leagues were next for Stan, and then Cooperstown.

But he never lost his humility along the way.

"He thought the world of people," said Andrews, "and knew people made so many sacrifices just to see him play."

In his visits to Springfield,. Stan always made sure to have two items on hand.

"I would see him carry around 3x5 cards to hand out to people and he would already have autographed them," Andrews said.

And he always brought his trusty harmonica.

"He carried it with him all the time," Andrews said. "He always carried it in his jacket."

Musial entertained the crowd in 1994 when he was named a Missouri Sports Legend at the Hall. And again at Hammons Field in 2005 when he used his favorite instrument to lead the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Springfield loved Stan Musial. And he was never afraid to show he felt the same way.

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