Today the St. Louis Cardinals announced that Hall of Fame player Stan Musial died at the age of 92. Musial’s life was about much more than numbers as exemplified by his Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2011. However, in the world of baseball a career is often judged by the statistics a player accumulates. Here are ten statistics than reveal just how great Stan “The Man” Musial was over his 22-year career.
#1 – Musial had a career batting average of .331, a career OBP of .417, and a career SLUG of .559. No Cardinal starter bested those numbers just in the 2012 season, not accounting for the 22 years it would take to sustain that production over Musial’s career.
#2 – Musial struck out 696 times over his entire career of 12,717 plate appearances for strikeout rate of 5.5 percent. Over that same time period, Musial walked 1,599 times and had a .417 OBP for his career. In 2012 Miguel Cabrera, the Triple Crown winner, struck out 14.1 percent of the time and had a .393 OBP.
#3 – In 1962 Musial hit .330 with a .416 OBP and .508 SLUG. He did this at the age of 41, and without performance enhancing drugs.
#4– Musial never struck out more than 50 times in a season.
#5 – Musial made $1,800 in his first year and $980,050 over his entire career. Musial highest salary was $75,000 in 1951. Adjusting for inflation, Musial’s 1951 salary would be $662,290 in 2013. The average salary for MLB players in 2012 was $3.2 million. In 2012 Alex Rodriguez made $179,000 per game.
#6 – Using advanced saber metrics, Musial had a 10.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) player rating. Mike Trout led the Major Leagues in 2012 with a 10.7 WAR. Over his entire 22-year career Musial had a 123.4 WAR with an average WAR of 5.61. The only Cardinal player to top that number in 2012 was Yadier Molina, who had a stellar season, with 6.5 WAR.
#7 – Musial was never ejected over his entire 3,026 game career.
#8 – Musial hit .300 or better for 16 consecutive years, which still stands a National League record today.
#9 – One of Musial’s best seasons was 1946 when he hit for a .365 average with a .434 OBP and .587 SLUG. Musial did all this after spending one year away from baseball to serve in the United States Navy during WWII.
#10 – As a 19-year old minor league pitcher Musial was 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 1940. Musial later hurt his arm and converted to an outfielder and first baseman.