Cards Dynasty to be Greatest, Says Musial

Filed under St. Louis Cardinals
June 24, 1968

“The present Cardinal team will mold the greatest dynasty in the club’s history.” This is the studied opinion of Stan Musial, the youngish senior vice-president of the Cardinals. An odds-on choice to be enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame, Musial spoke with emphasis when he said: “Last year, there were some who thought the Cardinals were not that good and were lucky to win. I didn’t agree with this thinking then, and I still don’t. This is a strong, solid club, one which will continue to win for the next five or six years. The Cardinals’ lifeline then, as now, is speed, pitching, defense and spirit. These guys win because they like to play – and have fun doing it. Roger Maris is the oldest player on the squad, and he has not been playing due to injury. Otherwise, Julian Javier is the oldest of the regulars and he won’t be 32 until August. Bob Gibson will be 33 his next birthday (November 9), but that isn’t old for a pitcher. Not a pitcher with Gibson’s competitive zeal.” “When Maris hangs them up,” Stan continued, “Tolan will move into right field. Given this opportunity to play regularly, Tolan has all the tools to become a great player and figures to fit in perfectly with Lou Brock and Curt Flood. Just mark my word, Tolan has a great future.”

Musial looked to the farm system. “The Cardinals’ minor league clubs are stocked with several outstanding prospects. I can think of three right off the bat. There’s Mike Torrez, a righthanded pitcher, Jerry Reuss (pronounced Royce), an 18-year-old southpaw and Ted Simmons, a catcher. “We signed Reuss right of of high school here in St. Louis. The scouts were so high on Jerry they said he could pitch in the majors immediately. Apparently they knew something. All the young man did in his first professional game was win a two-hit shutout.”

“I don’t ever want to sound like a pop-off just because we are winning and riding in first place (47-23 with a seven game lead over the Dodgers),” Stan said, “but this is truly an amazing club. It’s where it is on merit and it figures to stay right there for a lot of years. If Musial’s estimate is anything close to correct, there will be ample chance to compare the present Cardinals with some highly successful Redbird teams of the past. Besides St. Louis’ four flags in the 1940s, the Cardinals had five winners in eight years bridging from 1926 through 1934. And to bring the winning record up-to-date, the Redbirds rested on the top perch twice from 1964 through 1967. That is pretty profitable roosting.

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