40 years later, he's still The Man
Sunday, August 29, 2004
By GORDON ENGELHARDT
Courier & Press staff writer
Waiting to meet his namesake for the first time, Stan Ensor was practically awestruck.
"I was a little numb when he got out of the limo," Ensor said after the meeting on Friday at Bosse Field. "He's special."
"He" is Hall of Famer Stan "The Man" Musial, who was in Evansville this weekend to promote prostate cancer awareness.
Regarded as a macho man in full control of his emotions, Ensor's father, Jim, was overwhelmed as he drove from Boonville to watch Musial's last game with the St. Louis Cardinals at old Sportsman's Park in 1963. In fact, he held Musial in such high regard that he named his son after him.
"Jim was tough mentally and physically;" said Don Ashley, who rode with him that day to St. Louis and is now Stan Ensor's father-in-Iaw. "But tears came pouring down his face when he saw Musial's last game."
Ensor brought a 5 x 4-foot portrait of Musial from an Anheuser.Busch National Convention in Chicago in 1963 using the theme "Look to the Leaders." Musial's portrait was displayed amongst U.S. presidents, corporate CEOs and other famous athletes. Former Anheuser-Busch wholesaler Jim Powers, who also attended Musial's last game, stayed at the convention an extra day to bring the portrait of Musial to Jim Ensor.
"We've talked about moments like this when he would sign the picture and it came true," said Stan Ensor, 49. "I think I'm the only one in the United States who has this picture.
"My dad was always a Cardinals fan. Everybody has fans, but who wouldn't fall in love with Stan Musial when he played for the Cardinals when I was born? What a perfect name."
Jay Coursey of Henderson, Ky., fulfilled a lifelong dream of meeting Musial on Saturday at the "Home Run Series for Men's Health with Stan Musial" at the Royale Ballroom at Evansville's Marriott on Highway 41.
Stationed at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill., in 1954, Coursey went to Sportsman's Park every chance he had to watch Musial and the Cardinals.
"I was there the day he (became the first player to) hit five home runs in a doubleheader against the New York Giants," Coursey said. "If we had a uniform on, the bus was always waiting. It would take us to every home game. We had free tickets and free transportation."
He is impressed by how much Musial cares for his fellow man and how much he still gets around at 83 years old.
"He's had a wonderful life and he's still trying to entertain other people and he has concern for other people," said Coursey, 76. "He has concern for the cure for cancer and other diseases."
Musial entertained on Saturday by pulling out his trademark harmonica and playing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the luncheon and again during his speech in the afternoon. The audience sang along without being prompted.
"It seems like I hit a home run," joked Musial, wearing a Cardinal red sports jacket.
Obviously, Musial's baseball exploits came long before Coursey's grandson, Jeremiah was born. But he had heata several tales of Musial's exploits.
"He was a great player," said Jeremiah, 13. "I've heard many great things."
Musial was a seven-time National League batting champion and a three-time Most Valuable Player in his 22 seasons, finishing with a lifetime .331 batting average and 475 home runs.
Coursey said Saturday was a day he would never forget.
"It's a wonderful day," he said.