Throughout the hundreds of years of pro sports seasons and the thousands of athletes that have played in them, there have been many underrated players. However, I would argue that no one else in history has been more underrated than MLB outfielder and first baseman, Stan Musial. While yes, he is seen as a great in league history by baseball fans and gets some attention, he deserves to appear in most top 10 and even top 5 lists for the career he had, and you rarely see him mentioned among the greatest of all time, where he deserves to be.
Musial got his start in baseball as a child playing with friends in his native Pennsylvania. Eventually he joined his local high school team and excelled at the game. However, he was also an extremely talented basketball player and was actually offered a scholarship to play at the University of Pittsburgh. But at the same time, he also had interest from the St. Louis Cardinals who wanted to bring him in as a pitcher. Obviously, he ultimately chose the route of pro baseball over college basketball. He was signed to the Cardinals in 1938.
However, after signing him, the Cardinals made the choice to convert him to an outfielder prior to his debut, which was in 1941. Normally, this can be a lengthy and difficult process, but Musial picked up hitting extremely quick. His start to his career was amazing in the end of the 1941 season as he hit for .426 in the last 20 games. While his batting stance was extremely unique and different, he was one of the most consistent and efficient in baseball at the time.
His average would eventually settle down a little bit, his play would elevate to that of a superstar very quickly. In fact, in 1942 (his first full season) he helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a great season that ended with them winning the World Series. The next year, 1943, Musial led the NL in six different offensive categories and won his first MVP award. Fast forward now to the end of his career and you will be amazed at the numbers this guy put up.
He played 20 total seasons in the major leagues and was an all-star in 19 of them, being one of the most complete and effective hitters of his time. His career batting average was a whopping .331, which is insanely high. For reference, the leader last year was only .338, Musial was able to keep up a similar pace for two decades. But if you think he only hit for average, you would be dead wrong as he hit 475 home runs and nearly 2000 RBI. He also is a three time MVP and three time World Series champion to boot. This kind of resume belongs in the conversation of the best players of all time. Not bad for a guy who was actually brought in as a pitcher, straight out of high school.