“If I had to choose between the two of them, I’d take Musial in left field, Musial on the base paths, Musial in the clubhouse, and Williams only with the wood in his hand. And Stan Musial could hit a little, too.”
Bill James 1985
When you follow media as much as I do you realize learn how much conventional is shaped by the media being East & West Coast centered. For example a long time it was Axiomatic that Ted Williams was the greatest left fielder there was and to suggest otherwise, particularly if you were a Boston fan was blasphemy. Bill James statement in 1985 in his Historical Baseball abstract that while Williams was the greatest hitter of all time that Stan Musial was the greatest left fielder of all time directly contradicted that conventional wisdom. I wrote about this while he was alive and touched on it when he died but I didn’t adequately illustrate the point.
It seems to me that while Williams star hasn’t faded in death (although David Oritz has proved conclusively that he rather than Williams is the Red Sox batter you want up with a playoff or a World Series game on the line) Musial’s has, so to illustrate my point and describe just how good and how respected Stan Musial let me tell you about a man named George Crowe
George Crowe came up with the Boston Braves in 1952 backing up Earl Torgeson and then Joe Adcock until 1955 when Adcock’s broken arm game him the starting job for half a year.
In 1956 he was dealt to the Cincinnati Redlegs where he would back up Ted Kluszewski, but in 1957 injury would again give him a starting job and he would make the most of it having his finest season ever leading the Reds in homers with 32 home runs and RBI with 92 despite being 6th in games & plate appearances and at 36 the oldest starter on the team by more than 7 years but the 2nd oldest player on the roster.
All this meant his prospect for making the All Star team for the first time were excellent, particularly when the Cincinnati Enquirer pre-printed All Star ballots in their Sunday paper resulting in more than half the fan ballots coming from the city effectively stuffing the ballot.
The result 7 of the Cincinnati Redlegs were voted in as Starters for the All Star game,
George Crowe was not among them. Stan Musial was voted the Starting First Baseman for the National League.
That’s how good Stan Musial was and that how respected he was by the fans around the league & in Cincinnati, even with a stuffed ballot facing a guy having the best year of his entire Major league career you still couldn’t vote him off the All Star Team.
As for George Crowe, he would play one more year in Cincy before being traded to St. Louis and backing up Musial at first until then end of his career in 1961. He would never approach the production he had in 1957 but ironically thanks to the Ballot shenanigans he would finally make the All Star Team thanks to commissioner Ford Frick swift action concerning the ballot stuffing. Hank Aaron & Willie Mays were added to the team 1957 team and until the fans got the ballot back in 1970 managers, coaches and players and managers picked the All Star teams and in 1958 those players picked Crowe as the only position player from the Cincinnati backing up starting first baseman Stan Musial.
He did not play.