Hochman: ‘Had him in my heart.’ Cardinals icon Stan Musial had a special bond with Hank Aaron

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Milwaukee Braves outfielder Hank Aaron, center, jokes with St. Louis Cardinals players Wally Moon, left, and Stan Musial before start of game between the Cardinals and the Braves at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 15, 1956. Aaron leads the hitting average in the National League with .340; Moon is second with an average of .327; and Musial, a six-time winner of the honor, is third with .312. (AP Photo)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Benjamin Hochman

Deal me in.

A simple phrase connected Hank Aaron and Stan Musial all those years ago, and throughout the years, as they developed a friendship that, Brian Schwarze said Saturday, “transcended baseball.”

Schwarze was the man who was so often next to “The Man.” In Musial’s later years, his grandson spent ample time with him, be it at Busch Stadium or Busch’s Grove or even the White House. In 2012, Musial earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an honor his buddy Hank won a decade prior.

“It all really started at Hank’s first All-Star Game in the 50s,” Schwarze said. “There were a couple of African-American players all sitting at one table, playing cards. And Stan just went over and sat down with them. And they dealt him in. And that was his way of saying that, like, ‘I’ve looked beyond racism and everything.’ Hank said he remembered that his whole life.”

Aaron passed away on Friday. He was 86. As America says goodbye…

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