Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Man and the Numbers

It's hard to describe what Stan the Man Musial meant to us in St. Louis, even to those of us who never saw him play.

It's almost like the Pope has died.

We loved this man, and he somehow represented this city and the Cardinals better than anybody.  Baseball means everything in St. Louis.  And Stan the Man was baseball.

Speaking of the Pope, Stan was a good Catholic, and from what everyone says a kind of Everyman-Saint.  His funeral will probably be at the St. Louis Cathedral.  My good friend Deacon John Wainscott served as a deacon at Stan's parish in St. Louis county, and often served communion to Stan.

Last night, when my wife called to tell me that Stan had died (I was driving home from Iowa), she remarked, "It was 66 degrees here today, and of course Stan was Number 6.  And the St. Louis Blues won their season opener 6-0."

Well, that's interesting, but hardly noteworthy - even though everyone in St. Louis knows who "Number 6" was.

***

And then today, as I'm watching the KSDK special on Stan that they aired last night and that Karen DVR'd for me, Bob Costas tells a story of how when he first came to St. Louis in 1974 to interview for his first big job in broadcasting, he made it a point to eat at Stan's restaurant, Stan Musial and Biggies.  He (Costas) ordered a burger and fries and left a $3.31 tip, in honor of Stan's .331 lifetime batting average.

And then at one point, later in the show, we paused the DVR, to corral the dog who was chasing the cat.

And I noticed something odd.

Snapshot of our TV, the DVR paused during the Stan Musial Special.

Here's a screenshot of what I saw when we paused the DVR.

It says the program is Saturday Night Live, but that's because KSDK was interrupting regular programming to broadcast a special on Stan.  Note the info in the lower right - 51 degrees at 11:12, News Channel 5.

And note the length of the program that the DVR recorded.

3:31 - three hours and thirty-one minutes, the same amount of Bob Costas' tip, the same amount as Stan's lifetime average.

The odd thing is, the DVR recorded long after the program ended.  The special only lasted until 11:30, or midnight at the latest.  What else it taped, or why it taped for exactly 3:31 is something I still don't know.

But Stan the Man may be laughing at that right now.

ADDENDUM:

Stan's wife died last summer at 6:00 pm - Number 6 - and Stan's grandson and caretaker said Stan died at 5:45 pm.  Then they all remembered Stan would always say, "You're not on time unless you're 15 minutes early."


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