Pujols leads Angels' tribute to Musial in Anaheim
Halos wear special patch in batting practice honoring iconic Cardinals star
ANAHEIM -- In a season that has seen St. Louis honor the late Stan Musial in a variety of ways, it was a former Cardinals player -- Albert Pujols -- that spearheaded an effort to make sure the Angels did the same.
Although the Angels organization was already planning to honor Musial, Pujols took it a step further by reaching out to Brian Schwarze -- Musial's grandson. When Pujols was preparing for his second season in Anaheim, the slugger approached Schwarze with the idea of honoring Musial when the Cardinals made their first-ever visit to Anaheim.
"Stan Musial was a great player, a legacy, but he was a better person," Pujols said. "I think he always needs to be remembered, not just in St. Louis, but all over the country."
So far, that is exactly what has happened as "Stan the Man" has been honored in some way, shape or form at various stadiums this season.
"I know how much he meant to the game, but to see everyone else carry it out, hopefully it keeps going," Schwarze said. "I call it 'the Chinese New Year of Stan' because he's just everywhere this year. I love it."
The Angels wore special patches -- which mirrored the tribute to Musial on the center-field wall at Busch Stadium and the patch worn by Cardinals players and coaches throughout the season -- that featured Musial's signature and No. 6 on their batting-practice jerseys and over their hearts prior to Tuesday's game.
Schwarze also threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which Pujols caught.
"[Albert's] always said, '[Stan] is the man, there's only one man in baseball,'" Schwarze said. "It hits it home for me to hear that from a player I've seen grow up."
While that concluded the pregame tributes, the Angels were not quite finished paying their respects.
In the top of the second inning, the scoreboard at Angel Stadium played a video tribute to Musial.
"It really shows what he means to the game to see every team try to honor him," Schwarze said.
These were just the latest in a long line of tributes to Musial, who passed away at the age of 92 on Jan. 19.
On April 8, the Cardinals' home opener, Musial's four children unveiled a memorial with his signature and No. 6 on the center-field wall at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals then hosted "Stan Musial Night" on April 12, where all fans received a Stan Musial replica harmonica and the team dedicated a plaque in his honor.
This was all in addition to the jersey patch worn by the Cardinals players and coaches throughout the season.
Recently, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to name the new Interstate 70 bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Louis the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial.
During his illustrious 22-year career -- all of which was spent with the Cardinals -- Musial earned three National League Most Valuable Player Awards, won three World Series championships, won seven batting titles, played in 24 All-Star Games, was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1957, the Sporting News Sportsman of the Decade for 1946-56 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.