County Council supports renaming new Mississippi River bridge for Musial
By: Michael R. Smith
The St. Charles County Council showed its community-wide support for former St. Louis baseball Cardinal Stan Musial by approving a resolution on Jan. 28 that urged lawmakers to name the new Mississippi River bridge in the Hall of Famer’s honor.
Senators Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri and Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois have already proposed that at the national level. On Jan.23 the senators proposed legislation to name the new I-70 span as the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge. The bridge in downtown St. Louis has a planned 2014 opening.
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann supported the council’s resolution.
He remarked that as a state legislator he voted to rename part of I-70 from the Mark Twain Expressway to the Mark McGwire Highway in 1999 (which, in 2010, was again renamed for Twain).
Ehlmann said he regretted the highway name change but doesn’t see an issue in promoting Musial’s memory.
“Mark Twain was really more important than Mark McGwire,” Ehlmann said of the expressway vote. “I don’t think we can go wrong with ‘Stan the Man’ — not because he was a great baseball player but because he was a great human being.”
Besides listing some of Musial’s achievements as “one of the greatest baseball players in the game,” the resolution states, “this iconic baseball player stood for honesty, dignity, and fair play on and off the field.” Musial “brought honor to himself, his family, and the entire Cardinal nation by his generosity, humility, and dignity.”
Council Chairman Terry Hollander (Dist. 5) urged passage before the vote, telling members, “I think this would be a great thing in this area to have a bridge named in his honor.”
Musial was born in 1920 and died recently on Jan. 19. He played his entire 22-year career in major league baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals and was considered one of the best hitters of his era.
After his baseball career he was a noted ambassador for the game, harmonica player, restaurateur, father of four, and husband for almost 72 years to Lillian — who died last May.