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Missouri

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Missouri (/mɪˈzʊəri/ (About this soundlisten) or /mɪˈzʊərə/) is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2009 estimated population of 5,987,580, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri's capital is Jefferson City. The four largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Missouri was originally acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became defined as the Missouri Territory. Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

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Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of 1956 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election since 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a transition between the Eastern and Western United States, as St. Louis is often called the "western-most Eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most Western city." Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains while the southern part lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers is located near St. Louis. Read more ...

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The Missouri River is a major river of central North America, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river on the continent at over 2,341 miles (3,767 km) and the second largest tributary of the Mississippi by discharge, after the Ohio River. The watershed of the Missouri River drains nearly 530,000 square miles (1,400,000 km2) of the eastern Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, spanning parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Approximately 10 million people live in the drainage area, many concentrated in urban centers along the main stem such as St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; and Great Falls, Montana. Measured from its hydrologic source in the Centennial Mountains of southern Montana to the Mississippi's mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, it forms part of the fourth-longest river system in the world.

Although it once was, by far, the longest river of North America, today its length is comparable with the Mississippi River because of channelization of its waters to eliminate meanders and facilitate boat travel. The lower Missouri valley has become a highly productive agricultural and industrial region. Barges shipping gravel, wheat, fertilizer, and other grown, mined or manufactured products provide much of the commerce on the river today. In response to the growing amount of water traffic, federal and state agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) heavily dammed and channelized the river in the 20th century. Although this development has contributed to the economic growth of the region, it has taken a toll on the ecology and the water quality of the Missouri.

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Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial (/ˈmjuːziəl/ or /ˈmjuːʒəl/; born November 21, 1920) is a retired Polish-American professional baseball player who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963. A 24-time All-Star selection, Musial accumulated 3,630 hits and 475 home runs during his career, was named the National League's (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, and was a member of three World Series championship teams.

Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, where he frequently played baseball in both informal and organized settings, eventually playing on the baseball team at Donora High School. Signed to a professional contract by the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938, Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Noted for his unique batting stance, he quickly established himself as a consistent and productive hitter. In his first full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series. The following year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award. He was also named an All-Star for the first time; he would be selected to every All-Star Game in every subsequent season he played. Musial won his second World Series ring in 1944, then missed the entire 1945 season while serving with the United States Navy.

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