‘Stan the Span’ to Honor Musial, Worker
A plan to name the newest Mississippi River bridge after St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan ‘the Man’ Musial and a worker who died on the project is moving forward in Missouri.
The state's Senate Bill 176 would split naming honors for the bridge and a new stretch of Interstate 70 over the river between the hometown icon who died Jan. 19 and Andy Gammon, 35, a construction crew member who fell to his death in April while working on the bridge.
Gammon, a married father of two children, drowned in the river after falling from the basket of an extended four-wheeled aerial lift that toppled from a barge.
Gammon worked for the joint venture team of Massman Construction, of Kansas City, MO; Traylor Bros. Inc., of Evansville, IN; and St. Louis-based Alberici Enterprises (MTA). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations against those companies in the case.
'A Good Way to Honor Both Folks'
Under the bill, the new bridge crossing the river would be named the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge," and part of I-70 would be designated as the "Andy Gammon Memorial Highway."
The bill gained first-round approval Wednesday (Feb. 20) in the Missouri Senate.
The measure is sponsored by State Sen. Eric Schmitt, who represents an area of St. Louis County.
“When we had the hearing in the Transportation Committee, a friend of (Gammon's) testified…he wanted his friend remembered in some way, and so we just tried to figure out a way to make that happen," Schmitt told St. Louis Public Radio.
"Naming the bridge after Stan (Musial) and the highway that begins there after Andy (Gammon) seemed like a good compromise and a good way to honor both folks.”
That area of I-70 is currently designated the Mark Twain Highway, after another favorite son of Missouri.
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Stanislaw Franciszek Musial has a World Series pennant, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two statues in his honor and, soon, a bridge in his name.
“When we had the hearing in the Transportation Committee, a friend of (Gammon's) testified…he wanted his friend remembered in some way, and so we just tried to figure out a way to make that happen," Schmitt said. "Naming the bridge after Stan (Musial) and the highway that begins there after Andy (Gammon) seemed like a good compromise and a good way to honor both folks.”
Stan the Man
The bill needs one more vote before moving to the Missouri House. The bridge and highway names would also need the approval of Illinois lawmakers.
Naming the bridge after Stan "the Man" Musial is not a reach for the region. St. Louis is a diehard baseball town, and Musial (though a Pennsylvania native) is a legend. The Hall of Famer played his entire 22-season career for the Cardinals and, as general manager, took the team to a World Series pennant in 1967.
In 2011, President Obama presented the then-90-year-old Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States.
More important to Musial's local fans, his statue outside Busch Stadium has long been a hub of ballpark life.