TEMPE, Ariz. -- David Freese couldn't help but smile at the thought of Stan Musial when asked if he'd changed his uniform number from 23 to 6 in honor of the late St. Louis Cardinals legend.
"It's obviously something that crossed my mind, being a Cardinal and being around Stan," said the new Angels third baseman, who played for St. Louis for the last five seasons. "It's just an honor to kind of wear his number. I don't think I look at it and not think about him for sure."
Freese has a special connection to the Hall of Famer known to many as "Stan the Man," who passed away in January of last year. He's close friends with a grandson of Musial and recalls seeing Musial often at Busch Stadium. Musial enjoyed coming to talk baseball with players and staff, Freese said Friday.
"Just to wear his number is an honor and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be around him when he'd come to the field. Going to his wake, that was a tough thing ... it was a blessing to be around a guy like Stan and understand what he was all about."
Jose M. Romero is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.