In the twilight of his spectacular 22-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial headlined a star-studded tour across the midwest to drum up support for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.
KSDK - In the twilight of his spectacular 22-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial headlined a star-studded tour across the midwest to drum up support for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. Musial traveled with actress Angie Dickinson and famous writer James Michener, among others, at JFK rallies in nine states, according to George Vecsey's 2011 biography, "Stan Musial: An American Life".
"Oh my God he was always funny," Angie Dickinson is quoted in the Vecsey book. "Of course, he wasn't funny when we were giving speeches but funny when we hung out together. We all ate dinner together after our rallies and he was the life of the party. Such a dear guy."
"Stan used to joke that he almost lost the election for Kennedy," joked Musial's grandson, Brian Schwarze.
In truth, experts believe Musial's star power and charm helped Kennedy win the key states of Michigan and Illinois in his razor thin victory over Richard Nixon in 1960.
In one of their most famous encounters, JFK and Musial met before the start of the 1962 All Star game in Washington, D.C.
At the time, President Kennedy was 45 and Musial was 41.
"Stan said, 'they say you're too young to be president and I'm too old to be playing baseball, but here we are'," said Schwarze.
Musial batted .330 in 1962.
The Musial family also made unforgettable visits to the Oval Office.
Kennedy would often call Musial directly, recalls Patty Anthony, Stan's secretary of 50 plus years.
"Patty almost fell out of her desk a couple of times when he called to look for Stan," Schwarze said.
When JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, Musial did what many other Americans did on that dark day.
Musial pulled his daughters out of school and they spent the rest of the day praying at the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End.
Schwarze says Musial didn't talk about the JFK assassination much because it was such a sad event and Stan didn't like discussing sad things.