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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Stan The Man becomes NL's all-time hits leader
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 19, 1962

At 41 and in his 21st season with the St. Louis Cardinals, one might think that Stan Musial would be oblivious to pressure. But as he readied to become the National League's all-time hits leader, Musial went into a slump.

Needing one hit to tie Honus Wagner's record, Musial went 0-for-15 before stroking No. 3,430. Then he failed to get a hit in his next nine at-bats, including four tonight, before lining a single for No. 3,431 off the Dodgers' Ron Perranoski in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 6-1 victory. His average had dropped from .394 to .316.

"I never worked so hard for two hits in my life," says The Man. "I didn't think that I was under pressure, but I realize now that I was. When I finally got to first base after breaking the record, I felt so relaxed I could have fallen over. That's when I realized the pressure had been on."

While Musial was feeling it, his biggest fan wasn't. Back home in St. Louis, his wife Lil doesn't hear the record-breaking hit on radio because she's so relaxed that she falls asleep before the night game in Los Angeles.

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