Stan Musial, Magician

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 12/03/06 04:29 PM

Does anybody have any information whatsoever about baseball great Stan Musial's activities as an amateur magician? I learned of this through Fran Marshall's 1946 book You Don't Have to be Crazy, and then I saw a photo of him in the 1959 "Ireland's Yearbook" fanning some cards for Claude Keefe. That's a 13-year spread there, which gives the impression of a lasting interest.

He's still alive, and I wrote to him about a year ago inquiring about his magic, but I never heard back. However, I did recently receive an email with an offer to purchase an autographed baseball celebrating the Cardinals 2006 World Series Victory. If anybody wants one of those, perhaps they are still available at his site,

But that really told me nothing about his magic, and I was hoping someone here might know something about it.
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Guest » 12/03/06 11:51 PM

I didn't know he was interested in magic. Here's an excerpt of an interview he gave a few years ago:
HOF: You're multi-talented. Who taught you how to play the harmonica and where did you learn to do magic tricks?

SM: I learned magic years ago when I was a youngster. We had a friend who was a magician and he showed me a lot of card tricks and various other tricks. I enjoy magic. I learned harmonica as a kid. After I retired I went to a lot of charity golf tournaments around the country.
I wonder if he was a member of any magic clubs in St. Louis?

Postby Lisa Cousins » 12/04/06 01:24 PM

Here is the text that serves as caption for the "Ireland's Yearbook" photo:

"Claude Keefe and his protege, the famous Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals, voted most valuable player more times than any other, and ardent magic fan and hobbyist. Here he is locating a selected card under the watchful eye of his teacher. Perhaps in exchange Musial teaches Claude how to improve his batting average. We understand the Musial rumpus room has shelves of magic that Stan is working on. Stan, the Man, got the 3000th major league hit in Chicago in 1959. Real baseball magic!"
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Lisa Cousins » 12/06/06 11:57 AM

I've been informed that Stan Musial was reported in the magic press as having opened a magic-themed restaurant.

Did anybody ever eat there?
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Guest » 12/06/06 04:28 PM

"Stan and the Blues" by Ed Levitt
Oakland Tribune | 1969-05-04 p. 47
"With all that, he finds time for a hobby -- magic. He is a fiend on card tricks.

His favorite card trick is to blindfold himself, have someone pick a card out of a deck over a table, cover the cards with a newspaper, then take a knife and, still blindfolded, stab the card that had originally been picked."

While looking for this I also found references to other baseball players doing magic:

Washington Senators Thursday sought a way out of seventh place by hiring a magician for their manager. Joe Kuhel, who does card tricks and is a member of the Society of American Magicians, signed a one year contract to manage the American league team.
_Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald_ Oct 10, 1947 p. 15

"Joe Abreu, rookie Cincinnati infielder, is quite a magician. He can do all sorts of card tricks, pull rabbits out of hats, etc."
_Sporting News_ April 2, 1942 p. 6

"He [Joe Kuhel] picked up his first knowledge of magic from Carl Zamloch, the former Cub Pitcher [1913], who is now a big shot with the Signal Oil Co., on the Coast. Zamloch learned his magic from his father, one of the greats of the art of mystifying audiences when grandpa was a boy. " _Sporting News_ April 30, 1942 p. 2

"Mort [Cooper 1938 - 1949, mostly StL Nat and Bos Nat] is a push-over for glasses that leak when you drink out of them, sneezing powder, locks that unlock only when turned upside down behind your back, card tricks, and little flowers that fit in your lapel and squirt water all over the over-curious." _Sporting News_ October 1, 1942 p. 12

"[Paul] Waner proved an entertaining story-teller and amateur magician in the grille room after dinner, telling some fishing whoppers and pulling some downright clever parlor and card tricks." _The Charleroi [Pennsylvania] Mail_ 1951-06-26 p. 5

"Scotty had card sense, preferred hearts and bridge, entertaind with card tricks. He excelled at solving mathematical problems." [Everett Scott 1914 - 1926, mostly NY and Boston] North Carolina | Burlington | Daily Times-News, The | 1943-06-21 p. 7

"Carl Zamloch, former pitcher, and a son of the famed magician, Herman the Great, [I believe Carl's father was Anton Zamloch; he had a son, also named Carl Zamloch, who was active in the PCAM] afforded delegates to the convention occasional entertainment with his card tricks and sleight-of-hand stuff. " _Sporting News_ December 11, 1946 p. 28

"When Musial says he does "a little magic," he is not poking fun at pitchers. He doesn't mean with the bat, but with card tricks and such. . . . "When we trained at Cairo, Ill., while wartime travel limits were on, Clyde [sic] Keefe taught Dickson [Murray Dickson 1939 - 1958, mostly StL and Pit], Donnelly [Sylvester Urban "Blix" Donnelly, 1944 - 1951, St.L and Phi.] and me lots of tricks. Keefe was a life insurance manager there, and had studied magic, and could make publick appearances. I am not that good, but I know a number of tricks which the real magicians do." " _Sporting News_ August 2, 1950 p. 4

"Stan Musial, most famous of all present day baseball players, was recently featured in a Saturday Evening Post write-up and his keen interest in magic was described, illustrated with a large photo of Stan doing card tricks for the family, the card-to-be-found sticking prominently out of a hip pocket. While many of the St. Louis Cardinals axe magical enthusiasts, Stan has the largest collection of props and does the most tricks." _The New Phoenix_ # 315, p. 61

"Tony Returns from Army With Hatful of Card Tricks"
"To baseball fans, the Yankee shortstop is Tony Kubek. To his teammates, he is Anthony the Great, Baseball's Most Amazing Sleight of Hand Wizard.

When Kubek returned from his Army hitch, he came back to the Yankees with a well-grounded knowledge of the duties and tribulations of a rifleman in an infantry platoon. He also picked up a few card tricks, the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't kind that have all his mates trying to emulate the wizardry of Anthony the Great." _Sporting News_ September 1, 1962 p. 8

"On the long "red eye" plane ride back to New York, Sam [McDowell, 1961 - 1975, pitched for Cleveland] showed [Ralph] Houk his repertoire of card tricks, of which he has many." _Sporting News_ July 7, 1973 p. 13

"Moose [Haas 1976 - 1987, pitched for Milwaukee] considers himself a novice magician, but he is confident enough in some of his sleight-of-hand to show a few tricks to teammates." _Sporting News_ November 10, 1979 p. 47

Other athletes mentioned to do magic:
Jerry Lucas (NBA)
Lindsey Hopkins (Indy 500 -- Pete Biro, do you know him?)
Chuck Fusina (NFL/USFL)
Buzzie Bavasi (Brooklyn and LA Dodgers front office)
Lew Tendler (boxer)
Fred "Newt" Hunter (baseball coach/scout 1930's)
Lou Holtz (college football coach)
Chuck Ramsey (NY Jets punter)

Postby Lisa Cousins » 12/06/06 08:03 PM

Bill, I loved reading through that, and I would call you "The Man" if that designation hadn't already been taken by somebody else on this thread.
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Guest » 12/06/06 08:48 PM

Good stuff, Bill.

Stan Musial originally hailed from Dormont, PA, near Pittsburgh. His interest in magic was fairly well known in these parts, but his stronger subsequent association with St. Louis made his magic much more popular in that area.

Nick Carifo, who is fairly active on this forum, today posted a note that a new biographic book by Joe Namath includes a chapter entitled "Magic." Nick's review of Namath's recall is quite interesting, and I'll not steal his thunder here. Rather, I'll ask that Nick post to this thread as soon as possible.

One other sports figure of note was a football coach of the Cincinnati team a few years ago. Sorry that my memory is failing enough to obliterate all recall of his name. Anybody remember it?

Postby Guest » 12/07/06 10:23 AM

Whoops! Replay review ...

Upon review of my last note, I have determined that I erred in assuming that Joe Namath's biography was written by Joe, himself.

We'll let Nick Carifo bring you the more accurate version. ;)

Postby Guest » 12/10/06 10:22 AM

Hi Lisa; When I lived in St. Louis in the early 60s, I ate a couple of times in Musial's restaurant (called "Stan And Biggie's") but damned if I remember anything of a 'magical' nature therein.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 12/10/06 09:40 PM

Jim, I'm sure that if Stan's restaurant featured even the slightest touch of magic, it would have caught your notice. How could it not? Maybe Stan only considered having magic at the restaurant, and then Biggie talked him out of it.

Jack Greenberg, I was not aware that Stan Musial was originally from Dormont. I'm a Pittsburgh girl myself. In fact, if any of you Pennsylvania magicians ever cross paths with a comedian named Auggie Cook, he and I were classmates at Northgate, good friends then and still.
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Guest » 12/11/06 04:40 PM

Hi All, Jack Greenberg asked me to post this note that I had posted earlier this week on a Pittsburgh Magicians Site:

I am reading the biography of Joe Namath, who as many know, hails from Beaver Falls, PA just north of Pittsburgh.

I happened across "Chapter 5: MAGIC"

The entire chapter is about LARRY BRUNO, Namath's high school football coach at Beaver Falls High School and his mentor and major influence in Namath's football success.

Besides being one of Pennsylvania's most famous football coaches, Larry Bruno was one of the FOUNDERS of "The Mystic Magicians of Beaver Valley", a small but creative independant group of magicians from Western PA, and also my first magic club. (Today, the Mystic's are part of the SAM, having taken over the charter of the old SAM Assembly 157, whose members morphed with The Mystics. ( )

Anyway, this chapter tells details of Larry Bruno's love for both FOOTBALL and MAGIC and contributes both of these passions as "keeping him out of poverty". It also tells of several of the routines and magic that Larry would do, and the parrallels between magic and football...

To paraphrase, a lot of the same skills are studied and needed. Both are about "faking" and "misdirection".

The chapter tells of a sword cabinet routine at a kiwani's club, a dove act and talks of various performances around Beaver County and Pittsburgh bars and clubs. Many of which were attended by Joe Namath. It does not say Joe was an active magician, but it does imply that magic, performances, and the study of magic techniques were certainly an interest passed on from his mentor, Larry Bruno, and helped to teach him the fundimentals of football.

I met Larry back in the days when the Mystics met regularly in each others homes. This was in the mid-eighties when I was just a little kid. I knew him as a magician and at the time never knew of his football fame. He has been by the club periodically since then.

If anyone would like a copy of this book, it is called "NAMATH" and is written by Mark Kriegel and published in 2004.

(Not to be confused with this month's release of "Namath - Icon of the NFL" written by Joe Namath. Although that also may include magic in the pages. I saw a video news story of large crowds at Pittsburgh bookstores for that book signing and Larry Bruno being escorted through the crowds to Joe)

Nicholas Carifo
Burbank, CA (Orig from Pittsburgh)

Postby Guest » 12/11/06 04:50 PM

Lisa... I've met Auggie Cook years ago. I doubt he remembers me tho. Tho if you see him, run the name "Bill Cornelius" past him. He is a good friend and any time I run into a comic that worked or hails from Pittsburgh, they have great things to say about Bill. Bill is a comic/bar magician from Pittsburgh. Used to book comics and magicians into clubs there. Names like Kozak, Dennis Miller, Jim Krenn and maybe Auggie Cook, not sure.

Lisa, I've seen your name alot on the forum and never knoew you were from Pittsburgh. Please join us at The Greater Pittsburgh Magic Network's yahoo group sometime:

Nicholas Carifo
Burbank, CA

Postby Guest » 12/11/06 08:16 PM

Originally posted by Jack Greenberg:
Good stuff, Bill.
Stan Musial originally hailed from Dormont, PA, near Pittsburgh. His interest in magic was fairly well known in these parts, but his stronger subsequent association with St. Louis made his magic much more popular in that area.
Minor correction: Stan Musial came from DONORA, PA, not Dormont.


Postby Guest » 12/11/06 08:26 PM

I've known Auggie for years, too. Worked a gig with him a few months back. Heckuva nice guy. Here's his website:



Postby Guest » 12/11/06 10:20 PM


I don't know what got into me there. I reread my statement after you corrected it, and damned if I didn't STILL see "Dormont" as "Donora," -- and of course, Donora is correct.

Thanks all for the interesting inputs.

Lisa, where in Pittsburgh was that school you attended? (It's off the subject of the thread, so feel free to answer privately.)

Postby Guest » 12/12/06 11:31 AM

The now retired Cincinnati Bengals football coach, who was (and I believe he still is) a magician, is Sam Wyche.

Postby Lisa Cousins » 01/19/13 09:43 PM

I just saw that Stan Musial died today at age 92.
Lisa Cousins
Posts: 429
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood

Postby Oddly Bent » 01/20/13 08:08 PM

Stan Musial, a real American baseball hero who did it without drugs....RIP
Oddly Bent
Posts: 136
Joined: 02/10/12 02:24 PM
Location: Hudspeth County, Texas

Postby JHostler » 01/22/13 07:04 PM

In a recent interview, Cards GM John Mozeliak reported having seen Stan entertain folks with magic after his (Mozeliak's) 2007 arrival in St. Louis. Musial apparently kept at it well into his 80's(!)
Tell Monte I sent ya...
Posts: 330
Joined: 09/27/08 08:34 PM

Postby DonRataj » 04/16/13 11:53 AM

I am a St. Louis magician and historian and will try to find out more among local magicians.
Don Rataj
Don Rataj Magician Artist Musician
User avatar
Posts: 40
Joined: 07/22/10 05:47 PM
Location: Mars

Return to Magic History and Anecdotes