Stan Musial and his wife, Lil, nearly died on a flight from St. Louis to Midway Airport in Chicago sometime between 1969 and 1971. I know because I was on that flight.
As assistant attorney general during that time, I flew to Chicago for various meetings. On this particular flight I noticed the Musials in first class on my way to a window seat in coach.
When the pilot announced the start of the descent, I could see nothing but cloud cover. Then, when we were about 200 feet or so above the runway, the plane dipped below the clouds and I could see the runway.
The pilot immediately swerved up and to our left, then circled back for another approach. The passengers were startled and concerned by such action.
The pilot then apologized, explaining that when he could see the runway, a plane was crossing it. Obviously if he had continued by tower instruction only, the planes would have collided on the runway.
While awaiting transportation to downtown, I introduced myself to the Musials, commenting that our plane had nearly made headlines. He acknowledged the close call then graciously accepted my thanks for him being such a role model for this "kid" growing up in Jerseyville. I told him about the home movies I made of his last game in 1963.
I thank God for my 77 years and for gracing all of us with Stan's presence for more than 92 years.
He was truly Stan the Man.
Jim D. Keehner