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On this date in Cardinals history: Jan. 19, 1945

On this date in 1945, Cardinals star Stan Musial announces that he has joined the U.S. Navy.

In 1944 Musial led the Cardinals to their second World Series win and third pennant in three years. He hit .347 with 12 homers as a 23 year old. But he would play the 1945 season first with the Navy Commodores exhibition team and later with the Ship Repair Unit in 14th Naval District League. When Musial's team played, 10,000 soldiers and sailors would show up to watch the games. 

Musial averaged 12 homers a season prior to his Naval service. He credited his time in the military with helping him develop his power because he tweaked his stance to hit more homers to entertain the military members he played in front of. From 1946 until his playing time started to diminish in 1957, Musial averaged 29 homers a year.

In addition to entertaining soldiers and sailors with his baseball skills, Musial worked at Pearl Harbor on a launch where he helped ferry wounded soldiers off of battle damaged ships to the medical facilities there.

Musial was discharged from the Navy on Mar. 15 1946 and he promptly led the Cardinals to another World Series win, this time over the Red Sox.