© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

05/18/08 3:34 PM ET

Musial honored before Rays finale

Hall of Famer memorialized with statue at Busch Stadium

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals honored the legendary Stan Musial on Sunday, prior to the start of the team's series finale against the Rays.

With family members and city officials on hand, Musial basked in a sun that shined as illustrious as his Hall of Fame career. St. Louis city officials dubbed Sunday as "Stan Musial Day."

"I'd like to thank the people of St. Louis," Musial said as he addressed the crowd. "They're the greatest fans around."

Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon introduced Musial to the crowd before a tribute video was played to the near-capacity crowd. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt briefly addressed the crowd as well.

"The Cardinals are proud and honored to celebrate the career of Stan 'The Man' Musial," DeWitt said. "It is fitting that we dedicate today the Musial statue at the door of Busch Stadium, so he can be honored before every game."

Donning a red sport coat and a Cardinals hat, Musial was driven onto the field in a cart. Shannon and several others had to assist him to the podium due to a poor knee, which Musial poked fun at.

"The reason why I have a bad knee is because I hit too many triples," Musial said.

Several different places around Busch Stadium have been renamed after him, including the entrance to the west side of the stadium, which will now be known as "Musial Plaza," and a portion of 8th Street, which has been dubbed "Stan Musial Drive."

With the Musial statue as its centerpiece, "Musial Plaza" pays tribute to one of the greatest players in Cardinals history. The plaza has 3,630 personalized pavers that represent the number of hits Musial garnered in his 22-year career.

A career .331 hitter, Musial spent all of his 22 seasons with the Cardinals. He is the Cardinals' all-time leader in home runs, doubles and RBIs.

On Tuesday, Musial celebrated the 50th anniversary of his 3,000 hit. In addition, the first 25,000 entrants to the game received replica Stan Musial statues.

Lee Hurwitz is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.