Behind The Scenes

Learning more about Stan The Man

ESPN Books’ latest title, on sale Tuesday, is Stan Musial: An American Life by New York Times veteran sports columnist George Vescey.

When baseball fans voted on the top 25 players of the 20th century in 1999, Stan Musial didn’t make the cut.

This glaring omission — later rectified by a panel of experts — raised an important question: How could a first-ballot Hall of Famer, widely considered one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, still rank as the most underrated athlete of all time?

In Stan Musial, Vecsey finally gives this 20-time All-Star and St. Louis Cardinals icon the kind of prestigious biographical treatment previously afforded to his more celebrated contemporaries Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

Sandy DeShong, Senior Director, ESPN Books, talks Stan Musial, the book’s availability and what’s on tap for future releases.

FR: Why the Stan Musial Story?

SD: Primarily because he was merely the most consistent superstar of his era and most people don’t know of or appreciate his spectacular career. I can’t recall any “all-time” great in any sport who get’s left out of more “who’s the greatest” conversations than Stan Musial. He played far from the national media spotlight, never squandered his talent, there were no legendary displays of temper or moodiness, and he didn’t live too hard or die young. He was simply a scarily gifted batsman who compiled 3,630 career hits (1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road), won three World Series, and retired in 1963 in possession of 17 major-league records. Musial has been rediscovered by the new generation of number crunchers and his reputation is actually growing nearly 50 years after retirement. Thanks to this long-overdue reappraisal, even those who took his greatness for granted will learn to appreciate him all over again.

FR: Where will the book be available?

SD: Printed books will be available wherever books are sold and eBooks will be available at all major etailers.

FR: What’s up next from ESPN Books?

SD: The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and The 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball. It’s on the greatest game in the history of college basketball, and the dramatic road both teams took to get there.

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