Musial, who turns 90 next week, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. It is the country's highest civilian honor, along with the Congressional Gold Medal. The Medal of Freedom is given for "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States or to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
"It's so well-deserved," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's such an amazing, remarkable man, professional and everything that it's very exciting and it's well-deserved."
A date for presentation of the award has not been announced. Musial was one of 15 recipients named on Wednesday, the second group that President Obama has recognized since he took office in January 2009.
"On behalf of all of Major League Baseball, I am truly thrilled that The White House has honored Stan Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining other legends of our game like the great Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Buck O'Neil, Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. "Stan Musial is an extraordinary human being, a great American and one of the best players in the history of the game. He has long been a treasure of St. Louis, but he represents all the best of our national pastime. Today, our game salutes Stan Musial on this highest honor from our country."
"We are very grateful that President Obama will award Stan Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom," Cardinals chairman William DeWitt Jr. said. "Not only is Stan one of the greatest players to play the game of baseball, he is also an extraordinary American deserving of the nation's highest civilian honor."[...]
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said in a statement:
"Stan Musial is the greatest Cardinal ever. And even better, he has been the kind of role model that America longs for. He has always cared about his community, his country, his fans and his teammates much more than he cared about his own glory. On behalf of millions of Missourians, I couldn't be prouder that the President has chosen to recognize our hero with the Presidential Medal of Freedom."
The announcement is the culmination of the Cardinals' "Stand For Stan" campaign, which was designed to raise public awareness of Musial's life and career and to convince the president to present Musial with the honor. Among those who participated in the campaign were Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the state's two U.S. Senators, McCaskill and Kit Bond, and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
"We stoked the fire a little bit, but there was some traction to his candidacy anyway," DeWitt said. "It was a fun campaign. It got people involved. But we had good support from political leaders, Senators Bond and McCaskill, Durbin, all very supporting. It was well worth the effort on everybody's part to make the President aware of what Stan has done."
Friday, November 19, 2010
Stan "The Man" Musial will be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.