“Stan Musial: An American Life” by George Vecsey ranks with Richard Ben Cramer’s portrait of Joe DiMaggio as one of the finest sports biographies I’ve read. Unlike some formulaic sports bios of statistical recitations with an overlay of superficial quotes, Vecsey’s bio of Musial is comprehensive without being ponderous. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of an American — and Missouri — icon whose public “nice guy” image actually matched his private persona. Vecsey takes the reader on a journey from Musial’s hard life growing up in Donora, PA, to his frustrations as a sore-armed minor league pitcher, to his ultimate ascent to Hall of Famer and successful businessman. Through it all, Musial was a family man and friend to all, regardless of their station in life (clubhouse personnel, James Michener, Pope John Paul II, et al.). Musial always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and after reading this book, even a Cubs fan will be glad that he was.
Three words that describe this book: Illuminating; thorough; enoyable
You might want to pick this book up if: You’re a lover of all things quintessentially American; you’re a sports fan; you’re a Cardinals fan.