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Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Sportsman's Park, St. Louis
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Not published in LIFE. Stan Musial bats against the Dodgers (Roy Campanella, catching), Sportsman's Park, St. Louis, 1956.Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Sportsman's Park, St. Louis
Stan Musial in 1948, the year he had one of the greatest seasons ever enjoyed by any hitter in history.
Stan Musial displays his seemingly awkward "knock-kneed" bating stance, 1952.
Stan Musial's compact, powerful swing, 1952.
After slapping a hit to center, Stan Musial dashes toward first, 1952.
Stan Musial with his St. Louis teammates, 1952.
Stan Musial chats with Cardinals player-manager Eddie "The Brat" Stanky in 1952.
Stan Musial in 1952.
Stan Musial with his wife, Lillian, and their children, 1952.
Stan Musial (center) shares a joke with teammates and brothers Lindy and Von McDaniel, 1955.
Manager Fred Hutchinson (right) congratulates Stan Musial after his 3,000th hit, a pinch-hit double off the Cubs' Moe Drabowsky in 1958.
Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial work out together, 1960.
Stan Musial talks to the press before his last game, September 1963.
Stan Musial and his old friend and long-time Cardinal, Red Schoendienst (right, with movie camera in hand) on Musial's last day in the majors, 1963.
In front of tens of thousands of loyal Cardinals fans, his teammates and the Cincinnati Reds, Stan Musial says goodbye to baseball in September, 1963, after 22 years in a St. Louis uniform.
Stan Musial (right) celebrates his retirement from baseball at his own restaurant, with Sen. Stuart Symington (D-MO, center) enjoying the festivities.
Fans, teammates and opponents (the Cincinnati Reds) applaud Stan Musial as he takes a farewell ride around the ballpark on his last day in the majors, September 29, 1963.
Not published in LIFE. Stan Musial bats against the Dodgers (Roy Campanella, catching), Sportsman's Park, St. Louis, 195
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Francis Miller—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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LIFE With the Man: Rare and Classic Photos of Stan Musial

Oct 17, 2013

Stan "The Man" Musial, who died earlier this year at the age of 92, was a three-time MVP and a three-time World Series champ for the St. Louis Cardinals. He won the National League batting title seven times. He missed winning the Triple Crown by one home run in a year when Statistician Bill James ranked Musial the 10th greatest all-around baseball player in major league history, and the second best left fielder of all time, just behind Ted Williams.

In 1948, when he missed the Triple Crown by one home run, he batted .376 with 39 homers, 131 RBIs, 46 doubles, 18 triples — and 34 strikeouts. In fact, Musial finished his two-plus-decade career with only 696 strikeouts; some famous sluggers, past and present (Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa) have whiffed that many times in just four or five seasons.

[Read an appreciation of Stan Musial, the man and the player, on Keeping Score.]

Beyond the phenomenal statistics, the National League and major league records he still holds and the respect he commanded from teammates and foes, alike, Musial was also one of the most beloved figures in the history of the game. People everywhere liked Stan Musial.

Cardinal teammate (and notoriously intimidating competitor) Bob Gibson once said, “Stan Musial is the nicest man I ever met in baseball. And, to be honest,” he admitted, “I can’t relate to that.”

Musial was a great player, and a good man, and he will be sorely, sorely missed.

Here, with the Cardinals once again in the World Series, LIFE.com presents a gallery of photos — many of which never ran in LIFE — of the Man on and off the field. We will not see his like again.

— Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com

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