In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
A shorter one today, as we go back to bio-comics, this time looking at Stan Musial. Now, I’ve done a bio-comic before, but this one is different because it’s from a different era- the Golden Age of Comics! To be more specific, it’s from True Comics #78, in August 1949, from “Parents Magazine”. This is from the late Golden Age, a time where super-hero comics were in a low period and were being replaced by crime, horror and romance comics, no doubt leading to good wholesome fun like this to held up as being the last bastions of innocent virtue in comics.
But I digress. Here’s the part of the comic with Stan on it:
You can see it here, as it is in the Public Domain. Go below the jump for more:
We don’t know anything about who drew or wrote this- not uncommon for some Golden Age publishers. The first thing we see is basically a bigger version of the cover image, only with an additional text on how the road to stardom is never easy, etc.
We begin with him joining the Cardinals organization (despite his father’s objections), where he was initially a pitcher. After troubles, he is considering whether he is made for professional baseball. This is, like, in the first two panels. Compare to how in the Ripken bio-comic there were a few pages of him as a youth. That’s the difference between an entire comic and one six-page story.
You can probably guess what happened next (especially since, you know, it’s actually what happened): Stan never regained his good pitching, but improved as a hitter, so he started moving up the Cardinals’ ranks before finally making it all the way to Cardinals, and apparently his dad changed his tune:
Oh, and they also show a guy sliding into first base here:
(The true story, per SABR, is that Dr. Hyland was able to “freeze” the appendix, making it less inflamed and allowing him to keep playing)
Musial then proceeds to, in his own words (his actual words were different, but go with me), have a crappy year. Well, a crappy year for him. He still hit .312. This is even made fun of in the comic itself.
The comic ends with Musial having a great day in 1948 against the Dodgers, and then, finally, has a image of him being carried off on the shoulders of his teammates.
But, don’t worry, because next time on the Baseball Continuum… STRANGE SPORTS STORIES.
Previously on BIzarre Baseball Culture:
Prologue: “Rockets on the Mound” (short story)
20. Shortstop Squad
21. Cosmic Slam
23. Mariners Mojo
32. Mr. Go
36. Dick Cole
39. Stan Musial Bio-Comic (you are here)