Stan The Man (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

An American sports legend was honored today. Here's my story of a brief moment with him.


I broke a rule, but it was worth it!

Stan Musial is one of the greatest to play the game of baseball.  He broke countless records, he was a 24 time all-star, and a first ballot hall-of-famer.  He has won just about every award baseball has to offer.  Today he was given the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.  It's the highest civilian honor our nation has to offer. He's only the 8th baseball player to get the award.  Here he is as President Obama gave him the medal.


I've written on this blog before that my family moved here to Colorado Springs when I was 12.  Before that I spent part of my childhood in O'Fallon, Illinois, right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.  I was obsessed with baseball at the time and especially with the St. Louis Cardinals.  This was in the ealry 1970's and Stan Musial retired in 1963...but anyone was followed the Cardinals knew the name, and knew the legend of "Stan The Man"


Now fast forward more than 20 years.  I was working as a reporter at WLKY-TV in Louisville, Kentucky.  To celebrate the opening of a brand new factory and museum, Louisville Slugger hosted a big baseball bash in July of 1996.  More than a dozen hall-of-famers who hit with the slugger were there that night.  I got to cover the event as a reporter. I even did a very short exclusive interview with Ted Williams that day.  Here's a link to a blog with more about the event if you're interested.

We were told that night not to bother any of the baseball legends for autographs or pictures..and that's pretty standard for media members at events like that.  Sometimes though, you break a rule.  When I found myself in a quiet part of the museum...with Stan Musial..I broke the rule!  He was witha family member, I believe it was his daughter, and I asked her first if it would be ok to ask Mr. Musial for a picture.  She said,"Sure."  My TV camerman that day had a still camera with him and snapped the picture below. It's one of my favorites from 21 years in TV!


I take my job very seriously, so I take the rules very seriously..but this one time, on this one day, for this one player...the young fan in me overruled the grown-up reporter..and I got my picture with "Stan The Man" 

You'd have done the same, wouldn't you?

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

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