Scott's Reviews > Stan Musial: An American Life

Stan Musial by George Vecsey
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's review
Aug 03, 2011

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bookshelves: baseball, biography
Read from August 03 to 08, 2011

A disappointing book. Vescey wants to save Musial from the scrapheap of obscurity, from the embarrassment of not having been voted one of the greatest ballplayers of the 20th century by fans. To be sure, this is a lovingly written piece. But Vescey cannot leave himself out of the book. This book, at times, seems to be about George Vescey, how he interviewed so many people, including some very prominent people, but how he couldn't get past the carefully constructed wall Musial built around his childhood and private life. He occasionally tends to fall into a forced vernacular, so as to show what a great fan he is.

Additionally, the book is lacking in some respects. It is a very thorough oral history, but doesn't have the forays into old boxscores and dusty newspaper clippings that recent biographies of Willie Mays and Roy Campanella feature. There are too few recountings of brilliant performances, great plays, and too much emphasis on what a decent man Stan the Man is. Admittedly, it is nice to know that some great stars have been genuinely nice guys.

It is an enjoyable read, punctuated by frequent vignettes -- chapters of only a couple pages, well worth the time. But hopefully someone will come along and write a scholarly biography of Musial, instead of simply gathering a bunch of journalistic columns and essays and calling it a "definitive biography."

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