1958 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Stan Musial got his 3,000th hit on this date in 1958, a double off the Chicago Cubs‘ Moe Drabowky at Wrigley Field. At the time only seven players in history had reached 3,000 hits; Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Cap Anson, Paul Waner and Nap Lajoie, quite a list.
Stanley Frank Musial ended up with 3,630 hits in a career that spanned 22 years. As of this writing, he is fourth on the all-time career hits list. Only Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose have more.
Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh on November 21, 1920. He played mostly outfield, but also over a thousand games at first base.
He was a great hitter with amazing consistency. Musial had a lifetime batting average of .331. He hit .336 at home and .336 on the road. Musial was National League Most Valuable Player three times; 1943, 1946 and 1948.
Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine once said, “I’ve had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third.”
Musial spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals.
3,000 hits club
JANUARY 29, 1958 | ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI • Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals became the highest paid player in National League history on this day in baseball (1958). Stan “The Man” gratefully stroked his signature across a contract worth $100,000. It was certainly well deserved. He won his seventh batting title in 1957 with a .357 average, and drove in more than 100 runs for the tenth time in his career. The Associated Press reported that only Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox probably makes more at an estimated $125,000.
The Cardinals made it clear they wanted Stan to stick around. According to the AP the 37-year old former outfielder who now mostly plays first base, told reporters, ”Baseball has rewarded me richly, and the Cardinals have always treated me more than fairly, this year in particular. I would have settled for less.”
Musial went on to hit .337 in 1958 and play six more seasons, finishing with a lifetime .331 average. He was not considered a home run hitter, but hit over 30 home runs six times and finished with 475 for his career.
He named to twenty-four all-star teams (there were two all-stars some years), and elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Associated Press, January 30, 1958