St. Louis, Mo.(KSDK) - Bill Herbst says Stan Musial gave him the strength to never give up. Herbst was in St. Mary's Hosptial in East St. Louis suffering from polio in 1950. He had been in the hospital for one month and his 12th birthday was fast approaching.
"My dad said what would you like for your birthday? And I said I want to meet Stan Musial," said Herbst.
Somehow, his dad got word to Musial and baseball's perfect knight walked into Herbst's hospital room on his birthday.
"I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a dream. I just was in total disbelief that I was gonna meet him," he said.
Musial gave Herbst a baseball signed by the entire team. From there, Herbst would go on to spend 11 more grueling months in the hospital.
Once he was back home in Collinsville, Illinois, his 13th birthday was right around the corner. A brown envelope came and inside was a autographed picture of Musial that said, "Happy Birthday Billy."
"I just thought he was a person then, more than a ball player," said Herbst.
However, that would not be the end of their story. Eight years later at a college reception Herbst had the chance to meet Musial again.
"I said Stan you probably don't remember me but you were my 12th birthday gift. He said, 'Yes I do your name is Bill,'" Herbst recalled.
Herbst said he has always idolized Musial and believes his legacy won't only be his baseball prowess but his life as a true humanitarian.