Today Bob Costas delivered a very emotional eulogy at the public funeral for Stan Musial. In a classy move, Costas noted that it would have been best if broadcaster Jack Buck, who died in 2002, were still alive to deliver the eulogy. Still, Costas delivered a well written eulogy that was delivered from the heart. In the process, Costas won over many St. Louis Cardinals fans. The full video of Costas’ eulogy (via local affiliate Fox 2) , along with a summary, appears below.
Costas began by noting that Costas had missed the fame of some other greats because he lacked the one great season, or one great play, or personal drama to go along with his great career. While saying the storylines of other players were easy to understand, Costas said that Musial may have gone underappreciated because all “Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer, and more than nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being.” Costas noted that even Cobb, who did not like anyone, said that Musial was the best ballplayer he had even seen.
Costas noted that Musial’s life may not be fit for Hollywood movie because he holds records for “autographs signed, spirits lifted, and acts of kindness large and small. What are we supposed to do with that?”
Costas then remarked on how Musial stayed in St. Louis, and ultimately died in St. Louis. While many other baseball greats were unapproachable because of their celebrity status, Musial was always close to those in his community. As Costas explained, Musial understood that it was “More important to be understood and loved, than to be idolized, and that friendship is more important than fame.”
During baseball integration Costas described how Musial was not a public activists, but that Musial was welcomed African-American players in his own way by playing cards with them when no other white player would.
Costas told an emotional story of Mickey Mantle, who died of liver cancer after suffering from alcoholism for many years. Costas noted that Mantle avoided drinking one night while having dinner with Musial. At the dinner, Mantle said that even though he had more ability that Musial was better ballplayer than him because he was a better man than him.
Costas then ended with the words of former baseball commissioner Ford C. Frick, who said of Musial, “Here stand baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect night.” Costas said that even Musial himself would have denied the “perfect” label, but that Musial came “closer to that unattainable idea that most of us.”