Pomrenke: Dickey Kerr, the man who made ‘The Man’

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on October 28, 2013:

Stan Musial’s life was a charmed one, and not just on the baseball field. It was said about the St. Louis Cardinals’ great that he retired from the game with more money and more friends than anyone before him. After a stellar 22-year career, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and spent the rest of his life entertaining fans around the country with his ever-present smile and harmonica.

But on Aug. 11, 1940, such a blessed future seemed unlikely for 19-year-old Stanislaus Francis Musial as he lay writhing on the ground in the outfield in Orlando, Fla. He was injured, scared and broke. His first-born son was just six days old, and his left shoulder — the one Musial hoped would carry him to the big leagues and a big paycheck — was swollen and in serious pain.

Playing center field for the Daytona Beach Islanders of the Class D Florida State League, Musial had attempted a somersaulting catch on a sinking line drive. His spikes caught in the grass and drove his shoulder straight into the ground. 

Although a fine all-around athlete — it is often reported that he was offered a basketball scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, though the story is likely apocryphal — Musial was not an experienced outfielder. In fact, he spent most of his time on the mound with Daytona Beach, posting an 18-5 record and a 2.62 ERA in 223 innings in 1940. With just 14 players in uniform, everyone on the Islanders’ roster played multiple positions when needed. 

After the injury, Musial’s prized left arm was diagnosed as “dead,” not exactly a clinical definition but understood well by everyone in baseball. His pitching career was over.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/dickey-kerr-man-who-made-man

Originally published: October 28, 2013. Last Updated: October 28, 2013.