But a friend encouraged Musial to try the outfield. Musial had no home run power (2 homers in over 500 ABs) but he could hit a little in the gaps and could run.
And then he got better.
In 1948, he hit .376, with 39 homers and 131 RBIs. Musial won his 3rd MVP award but missed the Triple Crown by one home run. Blame the St. Louis Browns. The Cardinals had beaten the Browns in the World Series in 1944. The usually inept St. Louis Browns owned Sportsman's Park where the Cardinals played. The Browns had covered the right field stands in 1929 with a wire screen on an off-day after they had been hammered with home runs by the Tigers. (Four of Ruth's 60 home runs in 1927 had been at Sportsman's Park.) In 1948 Musial must have caromed a couple of his 46 doubles that year off the screen that, but for the Browns, would have been home runs. The Browns had their revenge for 1944.
1948 produced Musial's 2 "rookie" cards. (The card business had taken a breather during World War II.) The more famous of the 2 was a black and white portrait known as Bowman #36. To the right is a chrome refractor reprint of #36, serial numbered 255/299.