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Stan Musial battling Alzheimer's

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
I'm so sad to hear this about such a class act and really one of the classic faces of Major League Baseball getting this diagnosis.

I've been witnessing Alzheimer's and other forms of Dementia firsthand at my internship since August; it's such a difficult battle for the individual and their families.

Musial has been battling Alzheimer's, reports say


Musial has been battling Alzheimer's, reports say

BY RICK HUMMEL [email protected] 314-340-8196 | Posted: Saturday, April 9, 2011 10:15 am


Stan Musial, the 90-year-old Cardinals icon, has been fighting a battle that few knew about for the last several years — Alzheimer's disease, two published reports said.


Musial has had to endure the effects of Alzheimer's disease since he was in his "mid-80s," according to an advance copy of a book about Musial by George Vecsey of the New York Times.


In Vecsey's "Stan Musial, an American Life," to be released May 10, the author says, "The (Musial) family pitched in, learned about the illness, tried to keep him as active as possible to reinforce his contact with the world. From Musial's rare public appearances, people figured out that this merry and decent force in their lives was fading away."


Coincidentally, Gerry Musial Ashley, one of Stan's three daughters, confirmed the diagnosis to the Oakland Tribune on Thursday in an article about a baseball art exhibit in San Francisco that includes a painting of her father.


"My father has Alzheimer's," said Ashley, 66, who lives in San Francisco. "A little bit of his personality has disappeared, but he's doing well. He still knows his family."


Dick Zitzmann, Musial's business representative who runs Stan The Man, Inc., didn't deny the reports that said Musial has Alzheimer's but said that Musial's family preferred to keep Musial's medical history as private as possible and that Musial still was very active.


"Stan comes into the office every day and cheerfully signs autographs,"

Zitzmann said Friday night. "And he goes to lunch with me every day, and that keeps him active and happy."


Cardinals Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst, Musial's longtime friend and former teammate, said he was unaware that Musial had been suffering from Alzheimer's.


"I didn't detect anything," said Schoendienst. "I haven't been around him all that much in recent years. But he's 90 years old, and when you're 90, you're probably not as alert as you'd like to be."


Automobile dealer Bill Suntrup, another close friend, says he has lunch regularly with Musial and is impressed by how sharp The Man still is on many occasions.


"The other day we were at lunch with several people and they were peppering him with questions about baseball and players and Stan really was enjoying it," said Suntrup.


"I dont know if you'd call it Alzheimer's. It's just the medicine he's on," said Suntrup. "It's slowed him down.


"He just isn't the Stan we've all known and loved. But any time you come to work every day and sign autographs and have lunch, you're in pretty good shape."


Musial doesn't get out in public that much anymore, but he has made two memorable appearances in the last couple of months.


In mid-February, Musial went to Washington to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. According to those who know him best, that was Musial's biggest thrill, even larger than being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.


Later, at a reception after the Medal of Freedom ceremonies, Musial pulled out his harmonica — "never leave home without it," he always has said — to play some of the 50 songs he claims to know, with world-renowned cellist and fellow medal honoree Yo-Yo Ma at his side.


"Stan was really on his game today," Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said at the time.


The next day, Musial was back in his office in St. Louis at his regular time to sign memorabilia items. He was still wearing his medal as he went out for lunch at the Missouri Athletic Club.


"Being honored with the medal has been so good for The Man. There's been a real bounce to his step," Zitzmann said at the time. "He's as happy as could be."


Then, on Opening Day at Busch Stadium on March 31, Musial was in vintage form. Before the pregame ceremonies, he came into the Cardinals' clubhouse and visited with manager Tony La Russa, greeting fellow Hall of Famer Bob Gibson and others with his trademark "Whadda ya say, whadda ya say?"


He then circled the outfield warning track in a golf cart as the clear highlight of the pregame introductions. He waved with both hands, then pantomimed his unusual, patented swing.


Musial's bad knees wouldn't allow him to get out of the cart to do a stand-up rendition of the stance. "Too many triples," Musial is fond of saying. His constant smile, however, was evidence that he was enjoying himself.


Yet, Musial, who survived prostate cancer, has been fighting an opponent that is far more mysterious than any of the pitchers.


Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia, a general term for loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.


The Alzheimer's Association reports that 5.2 million Americans over age 65 have the disease.
 

Millz

Better Call Saul
Staff member
V.I.P.
Stan does seem to get around fairly well for someone who is 90 years old and apparently has this disease. This is the first time I heard about this and it's quite sad.

He's lived a full life though and I'm glad to see he's somewhat getting around well even at this advanced age.

Probably one of the most underrated baseball players of all-time.
 

KSpiceFantastic

Haters gonna hate.
This is sad news to hear, and I wish him nothing but the best. He is one of the best ever, in my mind, and to hear that he is still getting around is wonderful, like Millz said.
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
This is sad news to hear, and I wish him nothing but the best. He is one of the best ever, in my mind, and to hear that he is still getting around is wonderful, like Millz said.
Alzheimer's doesn't always have an immediate effect on mobility.

Unfortunately, the disease is a death sentence. If he's been battling it this long I'd be surprised to see him around after 2, maybe 3, years. But I'm just going off of the top of my head here and I'm no expert.
 

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
This is a shame, and I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone. Stan Musial is definitely a class act, and I have nothing to say about him. Supposedly he's a really down to earth guy and you could easily approach him if you see him.

I agree with Millz, one of the most underrated players, ever.
 
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