Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Diego Maradona, 1960-2020

Just 26 days ago, needing a milestone tweet for October 30, I wrote a post for the 60th Birthday of Diego Maradona. Shortly thereafter, he had heart trouble and brain surgery, and it looked like he might die. Then, it looked like he might recover.

But now, I have to re-post this, with a sad addendum.

Diego Armando Maradona Franco was born on October 30, 1960, in Lanus, Buenos Aires state, Argentina. He is regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. So why did he have to cheat?

El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Boy) played for Buenos Aires (city) team Argentinos Juniors from 1976 to 1981; Buenos Aires giants Boca Juniors from the middle of the 1980-81 season, winning the league title with them, until the end of 1981-82; F.C. Barcelona in Spain until 1984, winning the 1983 Copa del Rey; S.S.C. Napoli of Naples, Italy until 1991; Sevilla Spain in 1992-93; back in Argentina with Rosario team Newell's Old Boys in 1993-94 and back to Boca Juniors from 1995 to 1997.

He played for Argentina in the 1982 World Cup, but it would be the 1986 World Cup for which he would be most remembered. He practically singlehandedly dragged La Albiceleste (The Sky Blues) to the title, with the key moment being his 2-goal game against England in the Quarterfinal.

The 2nd goal has been regarded as one of the greatest goals ever scored. But the 1st goal was scored when he punched it into the net, an obvious handball -- or, as he called it, "The Hand of God."
The England goalkeeper was Peter Shilton.

This came just 4 years after Britain had clobbered Argentina in the Falkland Islands War, so it was a huge boost for the Argentine people. But it made the English really mad, and it infuriated everybody else who hates Argentina, which includes most of South America.

He won league titles with Napoli in 1987 and 1990, the only 2 Serie A titles that team has ever won. They also won the Coppa Italia in 1987, for a Double; and the 1989 UEFA Cup (now known as the UEFA Europa League).
Despite having Spanish as its official language, Argentina's largest ethnic group is Italians, so many of its great players have done well in Italy. Besides Maradona, these include Luis Monti (Juventus of Turin in the 1930s), Raimundo Orsi (ditto), Enrique Guaita (Roma in the 1930s), Omar Sívori (Juventus and Napoli in the 1960s), Daniel Passarella (Fiorentina of Florence in the 1980s), Daniel Bertoni (ditto), Hernán Crespo (several teams in the 1990s and 2000s), Javier Zanetti (Internazionale Milano in the 1990s and 2000s), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter in the 2000s) and Diego Milito (Genoa and Inter in the 2000s). (Under the rules of the time, Monti, Orsi and Guaita were allowed to play on Italy's 1934 World Cup winners.)

Maradona took to Naples, and they took to him. "Naples was a crazy city," he said. "They were as crazy as me. Soccer was life itself."

However, Napoli narrowly missed winning Serie A in 1989, and for over 30 years, rumors have been floated that Maradona, already addicted to cocaine, was, shall we say, enticed to throw some matches. A photograph taken of Maradona in a hot tub with 2 men later identified as being with the Naples Mafia, the Camorro, didn't help.

The 1990 World Cup was played in Italy, and the Semifinal between Argentina and Italy was set for Naples. Maradona publicly asked the people of Naples to cheer for Argentina, so they would be cheering for him.

Instead, a banner was hung in the Stadio San Paolo, reading, "MARADONA WE LOVE YOU BUT ITALY IS OUR HOME." The game ended 1-1, and Maradona took the last penalty, to send Argentina to the Final. In a reverse of the 1986 Final, Argentina were beaten by West Germany.

It was his last hurrah as a player. He was suspended for the 1991-92 season for a positive drug test, ending his tenure in Italy. After Argentina's 1st 2 games of the 1994 World Cup, he was suspended for a year for another positive drug test, ending Argentina's chances for that tournament. He never played for the national side again.

After years of dealing with drug addiction, his weight, and debt from unpaid taxes during the Italian phase of his playing career, Maradona managed of the Argentina team in the 2010 World Cup, just barely qualifying. He got them to the Quarterfinals before losing, and was fired. He has managed in Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico, and was managing Gimnasia in La Plata, Argentina before his health went downhill one last time. 

He was married once, and ivorced. He had 2 sons, one of whom, who goes by Diego Sinagra, plays in Italy for A.S.D. San Giorgio. He also had 2 daughters, Dalma and Giannina. Giannina married
Sergio Agüero, the Argentine striker whose last-minute-of-the-season goal won the 2012 Premier League title for Manchester City. They have a 11-year-old son, Benjamin. However, they have separated.

Maradona was a political leftist. He became friends with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, and had tattoos of both Castro and his former partner in revolution, Maradona's fellow Argentine Che Guevara. 

And, in 2014, Maradona was caught on tape hitting his girlfriend and latest baby-mama, who then left him. "El Diez" was treated like a god for nearly 40 years. Gods do not like to not get their way.

Nevertheless, like fellow soccer legend, and fellow Number 10 of South America, Brazil's Pelé, he used his combination of a poor upbringing and athletic skill to produce a man-of-the-people image, and become the most popular person his country has ever produced.

In the leadup to the 2010 World Cup, Ken Bensinger wrote in the Houston Chronicle

To understand the gargantuan shadow Maradona casts over his football-mad homeland, one has to conjure up the athleticism of Michael Jordan, the power of Babe Ruth – and the human fallibility of Mike Tyson. Lump them together in a single barrel-chested man with shaggy black hair and you have El Diego, idol to the millions who call him D10S, a mashup of his playing number and the Spanish word for God. 
But God does not have to cheat. Diego Maradona will forever go down as the most famous cheater in the history of sports.

On November 3, 2020, 4 days after his 60th birthday, he underweight emergency brain surgery in La Plata, to treat a subdural hematoma. He was released on November 12. But, today, November 25, just 13 days after that, he died of a heart attack in Tigre, Buenos Aires Province.

Just as with Kobe Bryant and his 2003 Colorado rape case, the crimes and cheating of Maradona are being glossed over in the wake of his death:

Eric Cantona, Manchester United star of the 1990s: “Some say Pele was the greatest player of all time, but not me. Maradona will always be the greatest."

Jürgen Klinsmann, German star of the 1990s, and manager of the U.S. team in the 2014 World Cup: "Diego, we will miss you! You were an artist, we all admired you! RIP!"
Francesco Totti, who starred at AS Roma from 1992 to 2017: "You wrote the story of football... Ciao Diego."

Jürgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool: "Diego was a sensational guy and Maradona had some struggles, let me say it like this. I will miss them both."

Lionel Messi, Barcelona star who played under him for Argentina at the 2010 World Cup: "A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese star currently with Juventus: "Today I'm saying goodbye to a friend, and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius."

Pelé: "I have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a legend. One day, I hope, we will play soccer together in the sky."

There are no drugs in Heaven, and no drug tests. But there may be referees, with yellow and red cards. I guess we'll find out how good Diego Maradona really was.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

How to Be a Rutgers Fan at Purdue -- 2020 Edition

The Gateway to the Future Arch

Rutgers was supposed to travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to play Purdue University in football on October 10, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, that game was postponed until November 28. And, due to the restrictions, no fans will be permitted to attend.

The schools are not scheduled to play each other again until 2025, at Rutgers. Big 10 schedules only go that far ahead.

Therefore, this is the one Rutgers game this season for which I'm going to do a Trip Guide, because I literally don't know when I'll get another chance, unless I just want to do their "Old Oaken Bucket" game against cross-State rival Indiana, which will be at Purdue next season.

Also next season, Rutgers visits Northwestern, the last remaining Big Ten school that I have not done a Trip Guide for. Their visit to Evanston will complete the circuit.

Before You Go. Despite being in the Midwest, and on the Wabash River, West Lafayette is not on a Great Lake, bringing strong winds and "lake effect snow." So the weather won't be substantially different from what we get in the Middle Atlantic States.

The website of the Indianapolis Star is predicting mid-40s for next Saturday afternoon, and low 30s and rain -- but not snow -- for the evening. Bring a Winter jacket, and you may need an umbrella.

Indiana used to be 1 of 2 States, Arizona being the other, where Daylight Savings Time was an issue; however, since 2006 -- 4 years after a West Wing episode lampooned this -- the State has used it throughout. There will be no need to adjust your timepieces.

Tickets. Obviously, this won't be an issue in 2020. For 2019, ticket prices were as follows: Midfield, $42; ends, $34; end zones, $26. They may be the same, or a little more, for 2021 -- presuming things are back to normal by then.

Getting There. It's 760 miles from Times Square in Manhattan to downtown West Lafayette, Indiana, and 752 miles from SHI Stadium in Piscataway to Ross-Ade Stadium. Knowing this, your first reaction is going to be to fly out there.

Except you're not going to fly directly to West Lafayette. The University is 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis International Airport, and 144 miles southeast of O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. It may be the least accessible school among the original 10 members of the Big Ten. (Still a little easier to reach than Penn State.)

Despite this being Thanksgiving week, you could get nonstop flights on United Airlines from Newark to Indianapolis International Airport for a round-trip fare of just $321. So even if you have to rent a car for the last 70 miles, that's cheap.

Amtrak goes to Lafayette, Indiana. The station is at 200 N. 2nd Street. The problem is, the Cardinal only runs 3 times a week. You would board it at Penn Station on Friday at 6:45 AM, arriving at Lafayette on 7:35 AM on Saturday; and then you wouldn't be able to leave until Monday, and then you'd have to go to Chicago and change trains there, and that's just too complicated. Let's move on.

Greyhound goes to Lafayette, although you'd have to change buses in Indianapolis with a 3-hour-plus layover, and that's no fun. It's $344 round-trip. And you'd still have to take Bus 4B from Lafayette the last 1 mile, over the Wabash River, to the main campus, and another mile to the stadium. The Greyhound Station is at 316 N. 3rd Street, 3 blocks from the train station.

If you decide to drive, it's far enough that it will help to get someone to go with you and split the duties, and to trade off driving and sleeping. You'll need to get on the New Jersey Turnpike, and take Interstate 78 West across New Jersey, and at Harrisburg get on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which at this point will be both I-70 and I-76. When the two Interstates split outside Pittsburgh, stay on I-70 West.

You'll cross the northern tip of West Virginia, and go all the way across Ohio (through Columbus), and halfway through Indiana to Indianapolis. Then take I-65 North to Exit 175, an dhead west on Indiana Route 25/Schuyler Avenue. Make a right on Sagamore Parkway West, then a left on Yeager Road and a quick left on Northwestern Avenue. No, that street won't get you to the Northwestern University campus, it will get you to the Purdue Univesrity campus. 

If you do it right, you should spend about an hour and 15 minutes in New Jersey, 5 hours in Pennsylvania, 15 minutes in West Virginia, 3 hours and 45 minutes in Ohio, and 2 and a half hours in Indiana. That's going to be 12 hours and 45 minutes. Counting rest stops, preferably 6 of them, and accounting for traffic in both New York and Indianapolis, it should be about 15 hours.

Once In the City. Like anyplace else in America with the name, Lafayette and West Lafayette were named for Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, hero of both the American and the French Revolutions.

Lafayette, founded in 1825, is home to about 67,000 people; and West Lafayette, founded in 1888, about 30,000, not counting Purdue students. State Street divides building addresses into North and South, and the River into East and West. The area is about 72 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 11 percent black, and 1 percent Asian. 

The sales tax in the State of Indiana is 7 percent. ZIP Codes in The Lafayette area start with the digits 479, and the Area Code is 765. The fare on GoCity Bus is just $1.00. The Journal & Courier is the local newspaper.

Purdue University was founded in 1869, and was named for its original benefactor, local businessman John Purdue. Since 2013, the school's President has been Mitch Daniels, a former Governor of Indiana, and Budget Director in the 1st term of President George W. Bush. He, however, is not a Purdue graduate: He got his bachelor's degree from Princeton, and his law degree from Georgetown.

Purdue specializes in science and engineering. As a result, it has produced more astronauts than any other school except the U.S. Naval Academy: 23, including Moonwalkers Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11) and Gene Cernan (Apollo 17); Mercury 7 astronaut Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, both killed in the Apollo 1 fire; and Jerry Ross, whose 7 spaceflights are a U.S. record. The school also produced Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who had to land an airliner on the Hudson River in 2009. Among its other alumni:

From the arts: Writers Booth Tarkington, George Ade and Kate Collins; actress Callie Khouri; comedian Jim Gaffigan; Little Orphan Annie creator Harold Gray; and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy panelist Ted Allen.

From politics: Controversial Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz; Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana; Governors Harry Leslie of Indiana and Kirk Fordice of Mississippi; and former Second Lady Marilyn Quayle.

From business: Popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher.

From other sports other than football: 1950s Yankee 1st baseman Bill "Moose" Skowron and 1960 Pittsburgh Pirate World Series-winning pitcher Bob Friend; basketball legends John Wooden, Terry Dischinger, Rick Mount, Billy Keller, Herm Gilliam, Jerry Sichting, Brad Miller, and Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson; and Olympic Gold Medalists Ray Ewry, David Boudia and Amanda Elmore.

Going In. The official address of Ross-Ade Stadium is 850 Steven Beering Drive. If you drive in, parking is $20. The stadium is a horseshoe, with the open end to the south. It seats 57,236, but there is a plan to put an upper deck on the stadium, greatly increasing capacity. In the Big Ten, a league full of architectural marvels, it is not one. But is the only stadium in the league that has always had natural grass.
Opened in 1924, it was named for its principal benefactors. David E. Ross (1871-1943) was an engineer and inventor, who also funded the Purdue Memorial Union in tribute to graduates who'd died in World War I, and its former basketball facility, Lambert Fieldhouse. He later served on the University's Board of Trustees. George Ade (1866-1944) was a Chicago-based newspaper columnist, novelist and humorist, and his success led him to donate to his alma mater, Purdue.
A few weeks ago, the playing surface was renamed Rohrman Field, in memory of Bob Rohrman, an owner of local auto dealerships and a Purdue graduate, who had donated over $15 million to the school. In March 2019 it was announced that a memorial for superfan Tyler Trent, who died on January 1, 2019, at the age of 20 from cancer, would be placed at Student Section Gate entrance in his honor.
Food. Indiana is in the heart of the Midwest, right-smack-dab in the middle (or what used to be the middle, before Penn State, and then Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland, were admitted) of Big Ten Country, where tailgate parties are practically a sacrament. So tailgating is permitted outside RAS.

Inside the stadium, however, you may be disappointed. Your best options are before the game (tailgating) and after (which I'll get to). Inside, as says:


Team History Displays. Purdue has won 12 Conference Championships: 1891, 1892, 1893 and 1894 in the long-defunct Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association; and 1918, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1943, 1952, 1967 and 2000 in the Big Ten.

However, the 1929 season remains the only time they have won the Big Ten outright. To make matters more frustrating, the 1967 title was shared with arch-rival Indiana and Minnesota. (Purdue beat Minnesota but lost to Indiana, but Indiana lost to Minnesota, forging the 3-way tie.) The 2000 title was shared with Michigan and Northwestern. Purdue has yet to appear in the Big Ten Championship Game since its 2011 start.

Due to the Big Ten's rules regarding Bowl games, Purdue never appeared in one until the 1966 season: Because Michigan State had won the title and gone to the Rose Bowl the year before, they couldn't go to it again, so 2nd-place Purdue did, and beat USC in the 1967 Rose Bowl. But the next season, Purdue was prohibited from going, not because they lost a tiebreaker, but because of the back-to-back seasons rule, and Indiana went (and lost).

Purdue went to the Rose Bowl again in the 2000 season, losing the 2001 Rose Bowl to the University of Washington. Those 2 Rose Bowls remain their only appearances in any of the traditional New Year's Day bowl games. Purdue has also won the 1978 Peach Bowl, the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl, the 1980 Liberty Bowl, the 1997 and 1998 Alamo Bowls, the 2002 Sun Bowl, the 2007 Motor City Bowl, the 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (same game as the Motor City Bowl), and the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl.

Purdue was retroactively awarded a share of the 1931 National Championship, with the University of Pittsburgh None of the preceding achievements are noted with a sign or a flag in the fan-viewable areas of Ross-Ade Stadium. Nor do they have any retired uniform numbers.

There are 17 Purdue players in the College Football Hall of Fame: 1910s back Elmer Oliphant, 1930s back Cecil Isbell, 1940s guard Chalmers "Bump" Elliott, 1940s guard Alex Agase, 1960s quarterback Bob Griese, 1960s running back Leroy Keyes, 1960s quarterback Mike Phipps, 1970s running back Otis Armstrong, 1970s defensive tackle Dave Butz, 1970s quarterback Mark Herrmann, and 1980s safety Rod Woodson. 

Also elected as members have been head coaches Andy Smith (1913-15), Jim Phelan (1922-29), Jack Mollenkopf (1955-69) and Jim Young (1977-81). Oddly, Noble Kizer (1930-36), head coach of their 1931 National Champions, is not in the Hall. Agase also served as head coach (1973-76). William "Lone Star" Dietz, Hall of Fame coach at Washington State, and John McKay, Hall of Fame coach at USC, also played at Purdue.

Griese and Woodson are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So is Len Dawson, who quarterbacked Purdue in the 1950s, before winning 3 AFL Championships and Super Bowl IV with the Kansas City Chiefs. His Chiefs coach, Hank Stram, was also a Purdue player, and an assistant coach while Dawson played there, and is also in the Pro Football Hall.

Starting with Bob DeMoss -- later their head coach and their longtime athletic director -- in the 1940s, Purdue became known for a string of fine quarterbacks: DeMoss, Dale Samuels, Dawson, Griese, Phipps, Gary Danielson, Herrmann, Scott Campbell, Jim Everett, Drew Brees, Kyle Orton and Curtis Painter. 

So, notable Purdue players include:

* 1910s: Oliphant.

* 1930s: Isbell, back Johnny Drake, 1930s tackle Joe Mihal.

1940s: Elliott, Agase, DeMoss, guard Dick Barwegan, back John Petty.

* 1950s: Samuels, Dawson, guard Abe Gibron, offensive end Pete Brewster (they weren't called "tight ends" yet), defensive ends Lamar Lundy and Leo Sugar, defensive back Erich Barnes, offensive tackle Ken Panfil.

1960s: Griese, Keyes, Phipps, center Ed Flanagan, center Larry Kaminski, receiver Jim Beirne, defensive end Don Brumm, defensive tackle Joe Krupa, safety Tim Foley.

* 1970s: Danielson, Armstrong, Butz, Herrmann, ill-fated receiver Darryl Stingley, running back Mike Pruitt, linebacker Keena Turner.

* 1980s: Everett, Woodson, running back Mel Gray, cornerback Cris Dishman.

* 1990s: Brees, guard Denny Chronopoulos, running back Mike Alstott, linebacker Jim Schwantz.

* 2000s: Tight end Matt Light, center Nick Hardwick, defensive end Shaun Phillips.

* 2010s: Running back Kory Sheets, defensive tackle Kawann Short, and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

In 2004 -- not quite in time for the 100th Anniversary, a limestone and brick tunnel was dedicated to the memory of the 17 people -- players, coaches and fans -- killed in what became known as the Purdue Wreck, on October 31, 1903. The Boilermakers were on their way to play arch-rival Indiana at Washington Park, the minor-league ballpark in Indianapolis, when their train crashed into a coal train on the outskirts of downtown Indianapolis. That game, and the 4 Purdue games scheduled for after it, were canceled.

Purdue has 3 rivalries where trophies are awarded to the winner. The Boilermakers and the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois, 91 miles to the southwest, play for the Purdue Cannon. In 1905, a group of Purdue students took a little cannon, only a few inches long, with them to Champaign, intending to fire it if Purdue won. They did, 29-0, but some Illinois fans found it and took it.

Among the students who found it was Quincy Hall, who took it to his family's farm near Milford, Illinois. In 1943, when the teams began laying each other again after an 11-year gap, he suggested it as a trophy between the teams. 

The series, which was first played in 1890, could not be any closer: It is tied, 45-45-6, following Purdue's win earlier this season. But, just in games played for the Cannon, Purdue leads 37-30-4.
Purdue and Notre Dame, 113 miles to the northeast in South Bend, Indiana, play for a Shillelagh Trophy, as do Notre Dame and the University of Southern California. For the winner of a game first played in 1896, Joe McLaughlin, a merchant seaman and a Notre Dame fan, donated a shillelagh he had bought in Ireland in 1957.
Overall, Notre Dame leads the series 56-26-2. Since the trophy was first presented, the Fighting Irish lead it 37-19. Due to conference commitments, they haven't played each other since 2014, with Purdue's last win coming in 2007. However, they are scheduled to play each other again in 2021, in West Lafayette.

But the rivalry that means the most to Purdue fans is the one with in-State rival Indiana University -- and vice versa. Bloomington is 99 miles due south on U.S. Route 231, although a faster route is usually the 113 miles down Interstate 65 to Indianapolis, and then down Interstate 69 to Bloomington (or the reverse).

It's a nasty rivalry -- nastier still in basketball, the most popular sport in the State. As Purdue fans enjoy reminding people, the incident where legendary Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight threw a chair across the court came in a 1985 game where Purdue was beating Indiana in Bloomington.

They first met in 1891. In 1925, Indiana graduate Dr. Clarence Jones and Purdue graduate Russel Gray met to select a trophy for the game. They chose "The Old Oaken Bucket," named for an 1817 poem by Samuel Woodworth. As Gray put it: 

An old oaken bucket as the most typical Hoosier form of trophy, that the bucket should be taken from some well in Indiana, and that a chain to be made of bronze block "I" and "P" letters should be provided for the bucket. The school winning the traditional football game each year should have possession of the "Old Oaken Bucket" until the next game and should attach the block letter representing the winning school to the bail with the score engraved on the latter link.
It is the habit of the winning team to put it on display with the chain hanging in such a way that their letter far outnumbers the other. This is considerably more difficult for Indiana: Overall, Purdue leads the rivalry 74-42-6, and 60-32-3 since the Bucket was first awarded. However, Indiana won last year, and has won 5 of the last 7.
Stuff. The Purdue Team Store is located in the northeastern corner of Ross-Ade Stadium, the round end of the horseshoe. Among the items sold are black, and gold, Boilermaker hard hats. A block from Ross-Ade, the Stadium University Book Store is at 720 Northwestern Avenue. A block away, at 1400 W. State Street, is Follett's Purdue West Bookstore. The main Purdue bookstore is at 360 W. State Street, closer to the main campus.

In 2008, Tom Schott published Purdue University Football Vault: The History of the Boilermakers. In 2006, a DVD was released, titled The Legends of the Purdue Boilermakers.

During the Game. Because of their Midwestern/Heartland image, Purdue fans like a "family atmosphere." As long as you don't say anything bad about their team, or anything kind about IU, especially Bobby Knight, you should be okay.

Answering the question, "So, what's a Boilermaker?" isn't as hard as the one for their rivals at IU, "So, what's a Hoosier?" because there is a definitive definition, and a definitive origin story. The definition: A boilermaker is "a tradesperson who fabricates steel, iron, or copper into boilers and other large containers intended to hold hot gas or liquid, as well as maintains and repairs boilers and boiler systems."

Notable people who have made a living this way include U.S. Army General Omar Bradley, automaking brothers Horace and John Dodge, actor-comedian Billy Connolly, and James J. Jeffries, Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1899 to 1904, and "The Boilermaker" became his nickname.

The origin story: Purdue began playing football in 1887. In 1889, they played Wabash College in nearby Crawfordsville, Indiana, winning 18-4. A newspaper account called the Purdue players, among other things, "foundry hands."

In 1891, Purdue went to Wabash again, and won 44-0. The Crawfordsville Daily Argus News carried a big headline: "Slaughter of Innocents." And a small headline: "Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue."

The University decided they liked it, and went with it, sometimes shortening it to "Boilers." In the 1970s, when another football team wearing black and gold, the Pittsburgh Steelers, started winning Super Bowls as their fans chanted, "Here we go, Steelers, here we go!" Purdue fans took up the chant, as, "Here we go, Boilers, here we go!"

Since 1940, Purdue Pete has been a mascot, with a costumed performer since 1956, wearing a hard hat and carrying a hammer, and currently appearing to wear a football jersey Number 00. 
But Pete is only the official mascot of the Athletic Department, not the University as a whole. The University mascot is The Boilermaker Special, a truck decorated to look like a railroad locomotive from the late Victorian (or, in America, Gilded Age) period that included the dawn of Purdue football. They chose a train because of Purdue's background in teaching railroad technology. As with Pete, the 1st Special was introduced in 1940.
The Boilermaker Special VII

In 1979, a smaller version, the Boilermaker X-tra Special, was introduced, to be used on surfaces that the main Special would ruin, like the basketball court at Mackey Arena or on carpets. It included a removable smokestack, to make it easier to move. This was the 4th overall "train," so it got the Roman numeral IV, as the main Special then was III. The current versions, introduced in 2011 and 2017, respectively, are the Boilermaker Special VII and the Boilermaker X-tra Special VIII.
Purdue Pete hanging off the Boilermaker X-tra Special VIII,
2019, with the University's 150th Anniversary logo on it

The Purdue All-American Marching Band (AAMB) created the 1st known football field formation in 1907, a block P. Before every game, instead of "The Star-Spangled Banner," they play "America the Beautiful" while Elias Lieberman's 1916 poem "I Am an American" is recited. Their fight song is "Hail, Purdue!"

In 1954, when quarterback Len Dawson was known as "The Golden Boy," the band selected Juanita Carpenter, a blonde who was an expert baton twirler, to be "The Golden Girl." Ever since, the AAMB has had a blonde twirler with the title.
Since Purdue's colors are black and gold, and it didn't seem fair to exclude an expert twirler just because she might be a brunette, in 1962 "The Girl In Black" was introduced.
But this wasn't the first addition. That was in 1960, when a pair of twin sisters who both twirled became "The Silver Twins." It hasn't always been twin sisters: Sometimes, they're just women who seem to look like each other. Hair color doesn't matter, as long as each has the same color.
The AAMB was the 1st college football marching band to play the opposing school's fight song (1920), wear their hats backward (1963, doing it after Conference wins), play at Radio City Music Hall in New York (also in 1963), and, at least the 1st from the Big Ten, to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2010).

They feature what they call "Monster, the World's Largest Drum." It's not -- I once saw a Rose Bowl halftime show in which fellow Big Tenners Iowa performed with a bigger one -- but it's pretty big, over 10 feet high.
Neil Armstrong, the 1st man on the Moon, played baritone horn in the AAMB in 1952. Popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher played tuba in the AAMB in 1928.

After the Game. Big Ten fans like to drink, but you're not going to be in Indianapolis, let alone Chicago. The safety of you and, if you drove in, your car, should not be an issue.

To the north of the Stadium is parking; to the east, athletic facilities, including Mackey Arena; to the west, student housing. Your closest immediate postgame food options will be to the south and the southeast.

These include: The Cary Knight Spot Grill, in Cary Quadrangle Residence Hall at 1016 W. Stadium Avenue; Amelia's, at 701 W. Stadium Avenue, in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering (a statue of the Moonwalker is outside); and chains along Northwestern Avenue, including a McDonald's and a Jimmy John's.

Notable West Lafayette eateries including Triple XXX Family Restaurant, considered the best breakfast stop in town despite a seemingly contradictory name, 2 N. Salisbury Street; and Harry's Chocolate Shop, which is a bar first and a dessert place second, 329 W. State Street.

If your visit to Purdue is during the European soccer season, as we are now in, your best bet to see your club is at Nine Irish Brothers, 119 Howard Avenue, 2 blocks east of Triple XXX. Each of these locations is downtown, just to the east of the main campus.

Sidelights. As with any other college in Indiana, except Notre Dame, Purdue's favorite sport is basketball. Since 1967, they have played at Mackey Arena, at 900 John R. Wooden Drive, at the southeast corner of Ross-Ade Stadium. For 30 years before that, they played just to the south, at Lambert Fieldhouse, at 800 W. Stadium Avenue.
Mackey Arena, with Lambert Fieldhouse to the right

Ward "Piggy" Lambert was the basketball coach at Purdue from 1916 to 1946. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and was awarded a retroactive National Championship for 1932, when his star player was John Wooden, later to lead UCLA to 10 National Championships from 1964 to 1975. Guy "Red" Mackey was Purdue's longtime athletic director. The playing surface at Mackey Arena is named Keady Court, for Gene Keady, the head coach from 1980 to 2005.

Purdue's men's team has won 24 Big Ten regular-season titles: 1911, 1912, 1921, 1922, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1969, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2010, 2017 and 2019. So far, only once have they won the Big Ten Tournament, in 2009. They made it to the NCAA Final in 1969, with some irony losing to Wooden's UCLA; and got to the Final Four again in 1980, again losing to UCLA, this time coached by Larry Brown.

In recent years, their women's basketball team has done better, winning 7 regular-season Big Ten titles, most recently in 2002; 9 Big Ten Tournaments, the last in 2013; winning the National Championship in 1999, reaching the Final in 2001, and also reaching the Final Four in 1994.

Elvis Presley performed many concerts at college sports arenas, but Mackey Arena was not one of them. He sang at IU's Assembly Hall, Notre Dame's Joyce Center, Indiana State's Hulman Civic Center, even the University of Evansville's Roberts Stadium, but not Mackey. His last concert was at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977, so that would have been as close as Purdue students would have gotten.

The Purdue campus is 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis, 122 miles southeast of Chicago, 177 miles northwest of Cincinnati, 238 miles west of Columbus, 270 miles northeast of St. Louis, and 278 miles southwest of Detroit.

Although they are slightly closer to Guaranteed Rate Field than to Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs are the most popular Major League Baseball team in the Lafayette area, with 36 percent of the fandom, to 11 percent for the Chicago White Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals trail well behind.

Despite only having been nearby since 1984, and only regularly better about 10 years fewer, the Indianapolis Colts are more popular there than the Chicago Bears. Despite a disparity in success, the Indiana Pacers are more popular there than the Chicago Bulls. But, with the next-closest NHL team, the St. Louis Blues, being considerably further away, the most popular is the closest, the Chicago Blackhawks. And the Chicago Fire are the most popular MLS team.

The Indiana Historical Society has a museum at 810 David Ross Road, about half a mile west of Ross-Ade Stadium. The Haan Museum of Indiana Art is at 920 W. State Street. Imagination Station, a science museum, is downtown at 600 N. 4th Street.

William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States and former Territorial Governor (died just 1 month after his 1841 Inauguration), became nationally famous after the Battle of Tippecanoe, on November 7, 1811, defeating a force of Tecumseh's Confederacy, led by Tenskwatawa, Tecumseh's brother.

Although this battle was far less significant that others in the coming War of 1812, including the Battle of the Thames in 1813, at present-day Chatham, Ontario, which Harrison also won and in which Tecumseh was killed, it was the most-talked-about land battle on American soil since the end of the American Revolution.

It even gave Harrison his best-known nickname: "Old Tippecanoe," or "Old Tip" for short. Even when he ran for President in 1840, with John Tyler as his running mate, it became his supporters' rhyming slogan: "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!"

The Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum is at 200 Battleground Avenue, in a town named Battle Ground, 7 miles northeast of the Purdue campus. (Don't laugh at the town's name: The location of England's most famous battle, the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is named simply "Battle.") There is no public transportation available.


Indiana is the most basketball-crazy State of them all. But they like football, too. And since Notre Dame seeks a national student body, and doesn't really identify with the Hoosier State, Purdue is the biggest "Indiana football school."

Scores On This Historic Day: November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy is Assassinated

November 22, 1963: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President.

The murder sends the world into mourning. Everything else, including sports, becomes secondary to laying the fallen President to rest, and bringing his killer to justice.

Within an hour and a half, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Within 48 hours, he, himself would be murdered. Those who believe he acted alone, and those who believe he couldn't have, each have evidence to back up their theory, but neither has enough information to make it conclusive. There was no trial. We may never know for sure whether he did it alone, or at all.


On that Friday, for the 1st time in their 17-year history, the New York Knicks postponed a game. They were supposed to play the Detroit Pistons at the old Madison Square Garden. Indeed, there would be no games in the NBA that night, nor in the NHL. All were postponed. And, of course, it was after the baseball season, so there were no MLB games to postpone. The Los Angeles Dodgers had completed their 4-game World Series sweep over the Yankees on October 6 at Dodger Stadium.

The Knicks-Pistons game was pushed back to the following night, and the Knicks won 108-99. Their next postponement would be on November 9, 1965, the day of the great blackout.

The 1963 Army-Navy Game had been scheduled for Saturday, November 23. It was postponed for 2 weeks, until December 7. With eventual Heisman Trophy winner, and eventual Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach leading them, Navy won, 21-15 at Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. The following year, the huge 105,000-seat horseshoe in South Philadelphia was renamed John F. Kennedy Stadium.

Most college games were postponed. But the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry went on as scheduled at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Nebraska won 29-20.

JFK's alma mater, Harvard, was supposed to play arch-rival Yale at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut on November 23. It was postponed until the following week, and Yale won 20-6.

You might expect the rivalry game between Texas and Texas A&M, the 2 biggest college football teams in the State where the assassination took place, to be postponed. In fact, neither team was scheduled for November 23. The game was already set for the 28th, the day after Thanksgiving. Texas, then ranked Number 1 in the country, held off a great upset effort by the Aggies, scoring 12 points in the 4th quarter to win 15-13. The Longhorns went on to beat Number 2 Navy in the Cotton Bowl -- in Dallas on January 1, 1964 -- and won the National Championship.

The Iron Bowl was also scheduled for November 30, not the 23rd. At Legion field in Birmingham, Number 9 Auburn beat Number 6 Alabama 10-8.

In my home State of New Jersey, Rutgers was supposed to play Columbia University of New York City on the 23rd, at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway. It was postponed to the 28th, Thanksgiving Day, and Columbia won 35-28. Only 5,000 people came out. Not surprising: Not only was it a holiday, with pretty much anybody who wanted to see a football game that day watching their hometown high school team, but the country was still very depressed, and neither team was any good: Rutgers came in at 3-5, Columbia at 3-4-1.

The other big college team in New Jersey, Princeton, was supposed to host Dartmouth at Palmer Stadium, in a game that would decide the Ivy League title. That one was postponed to the 30th, and, before a crowd of 35,000, Dartmouth won 22-21.

Notre Dame, with no official connection to the nation's 1st Catholic President, but unofficially accepted as the nation's leading Catholic university, was supposed to visit the University of Iowa on the 23rd. The game was canceled outright, and never played.

East Brunswick High School, my alma mater, was supposed to play football on the Saturday, against neighboring Sayreville. The game was postponed, and, for the 1st time in the then-new school's 3-year football history, a game was played on Thanksgiving. E.B. won, 13-12.


When the announcement that JFK was dead reached us at 2:35 PM Eastern Time on November 22 -- NBC beat CBS to the announcement by 3 minutes -- it was a Friday afternoon, and decisions had to be made to play or postpone the Sunday's professional football games.

The Giants and Jets (the Titans from 1960 to 1962) were, from 1960 to 1969, in separate leagues. American Football League Commissioner Joe Foss was the leading Marine Corps flying ace of World War II (26 shootdowns), a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a Governor of South Dakota. His political career ended in 1958 when, rather than run for a 3rd term as Governor, he ran for Congress, and was defeated by another WWII pilot, bombardier George McGovern. After his tenure as AFL Commissioner, he became the President of the National Rifle Association. He died in 2003, age 84.

In 1993, interviewed by CBS Sports on the 30th Anniversary of the assassination, Foss made it clear: "The vote of the owners was unanimous: The show must not go on." Although he was a Republican (being rich guys, sports owners tend to be Republicans, even nice guys like Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney and his sons who now run the team), Foss was an American first, and decided that the right way to honor the fallen President was to postpone that week's slate of AFL games.

The owners of the 8 teams the League then had all agreed: Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Billy Sullivan of JFK's hometown Boston Patriots, Ralph Wilson of the Buffalo Bills, Gerald Phipps of the Denver Broncos, Bud Adams of the Houston Oilers, Wayne Valley of the Oakland Raiders, Barron Hilton of the San Diego Chargers, and Leon Hess and Sonny Werblin of the New York Jets.

So the 4 games scheduled for November 24 were pushed back to the next Sunday after the regular season ended, December 22. The Patriots and Bills were set for a bye week anyway, and finished their season on December 14. The Chiefs walloped the Jets, 48-0 at Kansas City Municipal Stadium. The Raiders won a shootout with the Oilers, 52-49 at Frank Youell Field in Oakland. And the Chargers smacked the Broncos, 50-28 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. The Chargers would annihilate the Patriots for the AFL Championship on January 4, 51-10 at Balboa Stadium. It remains San Diego's only major league sports title.


The National Football League was a different story. Having less than 48 hours to decide, Pete Rozelle, in only his 4th season as Commissioner, made a phone call to Pierre Salinger, who had been his roommate at the University of San Francisco, and was now the White House Press Secretary and thus close to the Kennedy family. Salinger told Rozelle that JFK wouldn't have wanted the games canceled just because he was dead. So Rozelle announced that the games would go on.

Rozelle and Salinger were both still alive when CBS did that anniversary piece on the games that went on in 1993. Sam Huff, then one of the NFL's top defensive players with the Giants, soon to join the Washington Redskins, and later a longtime broadcaster for them, also sat for an interview for that piece. He thought that letting the games be played was a mistake.

As the most famous living athlete in the State of West Virginia (even more, at that point, than basketball star Jerry West), he had campaigned with JFK in the 1960 West Virginia Primary, which was so crucial to his winning the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. In that CBS retrospective, Huff said, "I think it should have been Jackie's call."

Jacqueline Kennedy was truly remarkable in how she put her husband's funeral together under the most trying of circumstances. But, at that point, I don't think she would have given a damn whether football games were played that Sunday or not.

And in that retrospective, they included an interview done with Rozelle upon his retirement as Commissioner in 1989. In it, he admitted that letting the games be played was his biggest mistake on the job. Rozelle died in 1996, age 70.

For his role in refusing to postpone the games, for his suspensions for that season of superstars Paul Hornung and Alex Karras for gambling, and for his ability to make the NFL more popular than ever in spite of the rise of the AFL, Rozelle was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. He remains the only chief executive of one of the "big four" sports so honored by SI.
On the 50th Anniversary, I did a "Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame" on the subject. My reasons were:

5. Timing. Rozelle had under 48 hours to make the choice. He said that some of the teams were already on, or getting on, the airplanes that would take them to the cities where their games had been scheduled. Had the shooting happened the day before, Thursday, it might have been a different story. Rozelle had to make a decision on the fly -- almost literally.

He also said that, had either the Redskins (of the city where the funeral would be held) or the Cowboys (of the city where the assassination took place) been playing at home, he might have thought differently. Instead, the Redskins were in Philadelphia to play the Eagles, and the Cowboys were in Cleveland to play the Browns.

4. The Kennedy Mystique. Football had been the Kennedy family's game. From Bobby and Ted making the Harvard varsity to the touch football games at Hyannis and Palm Beach, they reveled in the sport. It was a tribute to them.

3. Official Recognition. Sam Huff had a point: Jackie Kennedy giving Rozelle the go-ahead would have been better, having more moral authority, than Pierre Salinger giving it. Nevertheless, word had been received from the White House.

Indeed, the next season, Bobby visited the locker room at an Eagles game, and, quarterback King Hill, a Texas native, remembered, "He came into our locker room, and went around shaking our hands. He said he appreciated us playing the games that weekend." If that's how RFK handled it, that makes it quite hard to imagine JFK, or Jackie for that matter, saying, "Don't play the games."

2. The Games Weren't Televised. CBS, then the NFL's sole carrier, went all-Kennedy-all-the-time, and didn't even send broadcast crews to the stadiums. When Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, it was caught live on TV, when the pregame show would otherwise have been on the air.

The games were filmed by NFL Films, which caught a banner outside Yankee Stadium saying, "Kennedy dead, the game goes on, shame." But anybody who was watching TV that weekend was watching funeral coverage, not football.

1. People Wanted a Distraction. I talked to someone who was a senior at East Brunswick High when it happened, and he told me that playing those games was the best thing that could have been done. For 3 hours, people could think about something other than the saddest thing that had ever happened to their country in their lifetimes.

Under a million people actually went to the games, but a few million listened on the radio, including many around here who listened to the Giants on WNEW, 1130 AM. The actual funeral would be the next day, Monday, November 25, and the people could pay proper respect that day.

Here's the results of the NFL games for November 24, 1963:

* The Giants were upset by the St. Louis Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals), 24-17, at Yankee Stadium.
Giants players, and the flag at half-staff

* The Redskins upset the Eagles, 13-10, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Hall of Fame Redskin flanker Bobby Mitchell later said the sound of the game was weird, very muted, and that the players on both sides seemed to just be going through the motions.

* The Browns beat the Cowboys, 27-17, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In a gesture that may shock Northern Ohioans, used to seeing him as a rotten person, Browns owner Art Modell asked the public-address announcer to refer to the visitors as "the Cowboys," and not mention the name "Dallas," for fear of retribution against the representatives of the city where the President had been murdered.

* The Steelers and the Chicago Bears played to a 17-17 tie in Pittsburgh. The game was sold out, although that wasn't hard, as Forbes Field only had 35,000 seats. The Bears would go on to beat the Giants in the NFL Championship Game, 14-10 at Wrigley Field on December 29.

* The Green Bay Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers, 28-10, at Milwaukee County Stadium, where the Packers played 2 home games a year from 1953 to 1977, and 3 a year from 1978 to 1994. Perhaps because the Packers were 120 miles from their Green Bay base, this was one of 3 games not sold out that day.

* The Los Angeles Rams beat the Baltimore Colts, 17-16 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Because the Coliseum then seated about 100,000 people, this one was not a sellout. Jack Pardee of the Rams, a Texan, would later say that his car, with Texas plates, had been vandalized.

* And the Minnesota Vikings beat the Detroit Lions, 34-31, at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota. This was the other non-sellout.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

November 21, 1920: Stan the Man

Note: This was adapted from my obituary post for Stan, on January 20, 2013.

Ken Griffey Sr. Pretty good ballplayer. Batted .296 lifetime, 2,143 hits, 3 All-Star Games, 2 World Series wins. And yet, he's only the 2nd-best player in his own family, and the 3rd-best player born in Donora, Pennsylvania.

Ken Griffey Jr. Great ballplayer. Batted .284 lifetime, 2,781 hits including 630 home runs, 1,836 RBIs, 13 All-Star Games, 10 Gold Gloves, the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player award. And yet, he's only the 2nd-best player born in Donora, Pennsylvania.

Stan remains the Man.

November 21, 1920, 100 years ago: Stanisław Franciszek Musiał -- later anglicized to Stanley Frank Musial -- is born in Donora, Pennsylvania, a town on a bend of the Monongahela River, 25 miles south of Pittsburgh. He was a son of a miner, a Polish immigrant. Which means...

* He was the greatest baseball player of Polish descent -- better than Al Simmons and Carl Yastrzemski.

* He was the greatest athlete ever to play for a St. Louis-based team -- better than George Sisler, Bob Pettit, Brett Hull and Marshall Faulk; and better than any St. Louis Cardinal, including Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock or Albert Pujols.

* He may have been the greatest baseball player to come from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Honus Wagner may still be ahead of him. But Christy Mathewson is not. Nor is Reggie Jackson.

In his 1st 4 full seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals – minus 1941, when he had a late-season callup and the Cards just missed, and 1945 when he was in the Navy for World War II – they won the World Series in 1942, the National League Pennant in 1943, the World Series in 1944, and the World Series in 1946.

They never won another Pennant with him -- coming close in '47, '48, '49, '57, and in his final season, '63 -- but that didn’t stop him. He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1943, 1946 and 1948, and finished 2nd in the voting in '49, '50, '51 and '57 – winning Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award that year.

He batted lefthanded, and had a weird stance, called a "corkscrew stance." Hall of Fame shortstop Luke Appling said, "He looks like a kid, peeking around the corner, to see if the cops are coming." But that stance led to 3,630 hits, 1,599 walks, and 53 times getting hit by a pitch -- meaning that Stan Musial reached base 5,282 times.
The Stan Stance

His lifetime batting average was .331, his OPS+ a whopping 159. Of all players, ever (nearly 20,000), he ranks 16th. Taking out players who've used steroids, 14th. Counting players from 1900 onward, 11th. Counting players from his era forward, 5th -- behind Ted Williams, Mike Trout (for the moment), Mickey Mantle and Hank Greenberg Albert Pujols. Counting lefthanded hitters (keeping in mind the Mick was a switch-hitter), only Ted is ahead of him.

He led the NL in batting 6 times (topping out at .376 in 1948), hits 6 times, runs 5 times, doubles 8 times, triples 5 times, and RBIs twice with 10 100-RBI seasons.

He hit 725 doubles, 2nd all-time to Tris Speaker; 177 triples, and 475 home runs, not counting what we would now call a walkoff homer in the 1955 All-Star Game in Milwaukee. Speaking of which, because of the 2 ASGs played per season from 1958 to 1962, he played in 24 of them, a record that would be tied by Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, but not broken.

He was once the NL's all-time hits leader with 3,630 – 1,815 at home, 1,815 on the road. You cannot make this stuff up. He was once the all-time leader in both extra-base hits and total bases, until surpassed by Aaron.

Someone once asked him why he was always so happy. He said, "If you had a .331 lifetime batting average, you'd be happy, too!"

Curt Flood, who was his teammate toward the end of his career, asked him for advice on hitting. Stan told him, "You wait for a strike, and then you knock the shit out of it." To which Flood later said, "Baseball was as simple as that for Stan Musial."

Legend has it that his nickname came from Brooklyn Dodger fans. He hit so well at Ebbets Field that Dodger fans would look at the schedule, see that they would have to play the Cards, and say, "Uh-oh! Dat man is back in town! Here comes dat man again!" And from then onward, he was Stan the Man.

Al Kaline, Rocky Colavito and Johnny Callison all selected uniform Number 6 in Stan's honor. Tony Oliva is another possibility, but since he grew up in Cuba, he is less likely to have chosen 6 for Stan. 

When Mickey Mantle was asked who his baseball hero was when he was growing up in northeastern Oklahoma, where the closest major league team was the Cardinals (but not that close: It's 311 miles from Commerce to the site of Sportsman's Park), he said Stan.

So when the Yankees gave him Number 6 when he came up in 1951, it seemed a natural -- both for Stan, and because it was the next number in the line of greatness: Babe Ruth wore 3, Lou Gehrig wore 4, and Joe DiMaggio wore 5. But Mickey struggled, was sent down to the minors, and when he was promoted back, 7 became available, and he took it, saying that 6 never felt right for him.

Stan spanned the generations. His 1st game was on September 17, 1941, a 3-2 home win over the Boston Braves: He batted 3rd against Jim Tobin, played right field, popped up to 3rd base in the 1st inning, doubled home 2 runs in the 3rd, singled in the 5th, and flew to center in the 8th.

His last game was on September 29, 1963. It was also a 3-2 home win, over the Cincinnati Reds: He batted 3rd against Jim Maloney, played left field, struck out in the 1st, singled in the 4th, singled home a run in the 6th, and was replaced by a pinch-runner, Gary Kolb, and came off the field to a standing ovation.

In between:

* 1941: The Cardinals were baseball's southernmost and westernmost team. 1963: MLB had extended to the former Confederacy (Houston) and the West Coast (Los Angeles and San Francisco).

* 1941: MLB was all-white. 1963: There were now lots of black players, and several Hispanics.  Jackie Robinson had already been elected to the Hall of Fame.

* 1941: 1920s stars Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Lyons were still active; legends such as Hugh Duffy, Cy Young, Connie Mack, Nap Lajoie, Roger Bresnahan, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Zack Wheat, Fred Merkle and Fred Snodgrass were still alive. 1963: Musial's last hit went under the glove of a rookie 2nd baseman named Pete Rose, who would surpass his all-time NL record for hits, and Cobb's all-time MLB record for hits; while 1980s and '90s players now in the Hall of Fame such as Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken had been born.

* 1941: World War II was underway, the Allies were losing, and the U.S. was 3 months away from entering it after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 1963: The Cold War was well underway, people were beginning to learn about a place called Vietnam, President John F. Kennedy had just gone to Berlin to explain freedom's superiority to Communism and its Wall, and was 2 months away from being assassinated.

* 1941: The NFL was an afterthought, the NHL was a regional sport, and while professional basketball existed, the NBA, as yet, did not. 1963: The NFL was growing, the NHL was preparing to expand, and the NBA may never have been better, with stars like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. The Boston Celtics won the NBA title, with the retiring Bob Cousy and a rookie named John Havlicek.

* 1941: Radio was the dominant medium, television was still experimental, and computers were just an idea. The idea of sending a man into space was the stuff of comic books and movies. 1963: Television had become pervasive, although hardly anyone had a color set, and hardly any programs were being broadcast in color; and computers were being shrunk from the size of an entire floor of a city office building to just a wall of one room. And the Space Age and the race to the Moon had begun.

* 1941: The heavyweight champion of the world was Joe Louis. 1963: It was Sonny Liston, but a young man was coming for him. His name, at the time, was Cassius Clay, but we would come to know him as Muhammad Ali.

* 1941: The widow of Theodore Roosevelt, who became President on September 14, 1901, 40 years earlier, was still alive. 1963: Barack Obama, who was sworn in for his 2nd term as President the day after Stan died, 54 years after Stan's last game, had been born.

* 1941: Big Band or "swing" music was the most popular form of music, led by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and the Dorsey Brothers, Tommy and Jimmy. Bing Crosby was huge. Frank Sinatra was at the beginning of his career. There was no rock and roll, or even rhythm and blues. 1963: Rock and roll was now dominant, Elvis Presley was still really popular, doo-wop was the path of most inner-city singers, Motown was helping R&B make the transition to soul, Bob Dylan had exploded into the national consciousness, and the Beatles were the biggest thing in Europe, and were about to become the biggest thing in America -- but, as yet, not one American in a million knew who they were.

* 1941: There were still lots of living people who remembered the American Civil War and the Wild West. 1963: The people who were making the world what it is today were either children, or not born yet.

So Stan the Man's career spanned that much.

Three Presidents paid public tribute to him:

* At the 1962 All-Star Game in Washington, when he was 41 and already a grandfather, the 45-year-old JFK told him, "They said I was too young to be President, and you were too old to play baseball. I guess we showed them."

Bill Clinton grew up in Arkansas as a Cardinal fan (but his hometown of Hope, Arkansas was 462 miles from Sportsman's Park, significantly further away than even Commerce, Oklahoma), and Stan was the 1st non-politician he invited to the Oval Office in 1993.

* And in 2010, on the occasion of Stan's 90th birthday, Barack Obama -- who may live in Chicago, but had to run for Statewide office in Illinois, and that meant he had to understand the needs of Southern Illinoisians, most of whom are Cardinal fans -- awarded him the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Stan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 1st year of eligibility, 1969. He was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. That same year, The Sporting News (based in St. Louis) ranked him 10th on their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.

His Number 6 was the first number retired by the Cardinals, or any St. Louis sports team for that matter. A statue dedicated outside Busch Stadium (now standing outside the new ballpark with that name) is inscribed with words delivered by then-Commissioner Ford Frick at Stan's 1963 retirement ceremony: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."
Stan's statue, outside the current Busch Stadium

When Albert Pujols became the Cardinals' big hitting star at the dawn of the 21st Century, fans nicknamed him "El Hombre," Spanish for "The Man." Albert went out of his way to say that he appreciated the gesture, but that Stan was still The Man.
Lillian and Stan Musial, Busch Stadium, 2011 World Series

Stan died on January 19, 2013, at his home in Ladue, Missouri, in the suburbs of St. Louis. He was 92. It had been less than a year since the death of his wife, Lillian. They had been married for 72 years; if that's not a record for a ballplayer, it's got to be close. They had 4 children: Son Richard, and daughters Gerry, Janet and Jeanie. Stan was buried in Bellerive Heritage Gardens in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur, Missouri.

On February 9, 2014, a new bridge was opened for Interstate 70 over the Mississippi River, connecting St. Louis with East St. Louis, Illinois. It was named the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Also known as "The Stan Span."

Once, at a Hall of Fame induction weekend, Stan, the greatest National League hitter of his generation, was talking with his American League counterpart, Ted Williams. Afterwards, Ted's son, John Henry Williams, asked his father, known for wanting people to call him the greatest hitter who ever lived, "Dad, do you think Musial was as good a hitter as you were?" Ted said, "Yes, I do."

If Ted, who understood hitting better than any person who has ever lived, was willing to accept this as his opinion, then, indeed, Stan was The Man.